Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blancanieves: Movie Review

The twist to Snow White loses its emotional focus but maintains its ingenuity.

"Blancanieves" (literally Snow White in Spanish) places Snow White into 1920s Spain in black and white and classic silent film form. This version of Snow White not only takes on a Spanish twist, but a dark and gothic twist too; however, you will have to wait until the end for the latter twist to reveal itself. The beginning establishes the bullfighting setting with a Flamenco dancing flourish 2012, Spain

Directed by: Pablo Berger

Screenplay by: Pablo Berger

Starring: Daniel Giménez Cacho, Macarena Garcia and Sofia Oria

Antonio Valletta (Daniel Giménez Cacho) is a champion bullfighter; he's a hero in Seville. All men want to be him, all women want to marry him. Even when he's trampled by an enraged bull and his life hangs in the balance, all women still want to marry him. Simultaneously, his wife dies during child birth, Snow White - Carmencita - is born, and his nurse, the evil step-mother-to-be, is by Antonio's side. It's probably fitting that she's not likable but the "twist on a classic fairy tale" would have worked better if the actress had a disarming smile and wasn't over-the-top evil.

Carmencita grows up in the care of her grandmother with an adventurous pet chicken and an unfortunate need to spend the evenings Flamenco dancing. But the child actress, Sofia Oria, captured Snow White in her early years and held our attention and stole our hearts. We know, but fear anyways, that it would only be a matter of time until she was shipped off to live with her quadrapeligic father and selfish, depraved step-mother.

The handful of scenes with her father, theoretically bullfighting and discovering the indescribable joy that connects them with one another were some of the best acted scenes in the movie. In the lonely castle, the chicken Pepe was always in danger of being dinner and the now teenage Carmencita (Macarena Garcia) spent her days sewing, cleaning and scrubbing. The first dark twist occurs and Carmencita is left unconscious in a river, and five short-statured adults find her and re-name her Blancanieves. Yes, that would be five dwarves. This takes place in a realistic version of 1920s Spain where the Grimm Brothers' Show White was universally well-known. One dwarf provided the humour (although I'm assuming four of them were supposed to) and one dwarf provided the heart.

At times, Blancanieves was a genre-pushing, brilliantly re-designed, inspiring filmmaking achievement. But somewhere between Snow White's childhood years and her triumphant rise to confidant young woman, the film lost my sincere interest and care for her well-being. It became an exercise in inventive and impressive filmmaking (with a sometimes questionable score) instead of also having an emotional core. But, hey, two out of three ain't bad.


The Artist (2011) - The golden hue of black and white silence and old-school charm.