Blancanieves

"Essential"

Blancanieves Review


This exquisite Spanish take on the Snow White fairy tale is in a different league from Hollywood's two recent attempts to retell the story: it's clever, artistic and emotionally thrilling. Aside from comparisons to Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, it's also likely to be measured against The Artist, since it's shot as a black and white silent movie. But forget all of those! This film stands on its own as a cinematic experience so wonderfully involving that we never want it to end.

It's set in 1910 Seville, where top bullfighter Antonio (Gimenez Cacho) is badly injured in the ring, shocking his glamorous singer wife (Cuesta) into early labour. But when she dies in childbirth, the now paralysed Antonio can't bear to look at his newborn daughter Carmen, so she's sent to live with her grandmother (Molina). Years later, Carmen (played by Oria then Garcia) finally gets the chance to live with her father, but she's badly mistreated by his new wife Encarna (Verdu), his former nurse. Abandoned in the woods, Carmen meets six dwarf bullfighters who are amazed at her natural skills in the ring. So they name her Blancanieves (which means Snow White) and make her the seventh member of their travelling troupe.

There's no magic in this version of the story, which is grounded in earthy settings and historical authenticity. Instead of a talking mirror, Encarna discovers Carmen's beauty as her crowd-pleasing performances knock Encarna off the front pages of the tabloids. Enraged, she plots to get rid of Carmen by handing her a poisoned apple in a scene fraught with both joy and unbearable tension. The film is packed with these kinds of mixed emotions, which add to both the timelessness of the tale and the deeply personal resonance.

Every element of the film is impeccable, from Kiko de la Rica's stunningly beautiful black and white photography to Alfonso de Vilallonga's flamenco-infused score. And the actors continually play with our affections without ever overacting, subtly finding details in every moment. There's even a bit of rivalry and romance amid the dwarfs, and an unexpected "prince charming" (Dorado) who's impossible not to fall in love with. Using a vintage filmmaking style, writer-director Berger has made a thoroughly modern movie with aspects of comedy, horror, tragedy and romance. it deserves to be a classic.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Production compaines: Arcadia Motion Pictures, Noodles Production, Thekraken Films, A.I.E., ARTE France Cinéma, Canal+ España

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Pablo Berger

Producer: Pablo Berger, Ibon Cormenzana, Jerome Vidal

Starring: as Encarna, Macarena García as Carmen, as Antonio Villalta, Ángela Molina as Concha, Inma Cuesta as Carmen de Triana, Pere Ponce as Genaro, Sofía Oria as Carmencita, Ramón Barea as Don Martín, Emilio Gavira as Jesusín, Josep Maria Pou as Don Carlos (as José María Pou), Sergio Dorado as Rafita, Jinson Añazco as Juanín

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

Advertisement
England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.