Blanca Nieves (Snow White)

1010272_fr_blancanieves_1361441050661Review by Lucía Santiago Dantés.

Blanca Nieves or Snow White opens this weekend in Vancouver. The film is intended to be a dark, formalistic and very cinematic version of the original classic fairy tale that we all grew up with. Although to be fair, is closer to the original version. Who are we kidding here? all the classic fairy tales mostly tells gruesome stories that has nothing to do with the “and they all live happily ever after” You can check the original version of some of most popular fairy tales in this  link.

Pablo Berger has decided to merge the classic dark original story and incorporate it to cinema but also adapt it to the culture of Spain with his personal style.

Berger is better known for “Torremolinos 73” (2003) and a short film called “Mama” (1988)

Both features has won the Goya Awards respectively.

Snow White or Blancanieves has won so far,  33 awards according to IMDB, and still winning prices. Just last month the film received an Ariel, the Mexican Academy Award for best Ibero-American film.

The film is silent and black and white, and this style adds more drama to the dark story. It also has a great casting like Maribel Verdú (better known for her work in “y tu mamá también (2001),  and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006))  Also in this movie is Daniel Giménez Cacho, who has also worked with the best spanish spoken directors like Pedro Almodóvar in “Bad Education” (La Mala Educación, 2004), Alfonso Cuarón  “Y tu Mamá También, 2001),  and Arturo Ripstein in “Deep Crimson”(1996) just to mention a few.

Just like “The Artist”, the film is silent but certainly with its own style. The story like the original, is about a little girl who lost her mother and her father survives and lives in the woods with 7 dwarves. The twist comes when Berger adapt it to its own culture and Snowwhite trade her happy songs and beautiful dress for a cape and a sword becoming a bullfighter.

Carmen (Macarena García) is the daughter of Antonio (Giménez Cacho), a famous bullfighter in Sevilla. The day Carmencita was born was a tragic day: Antonio got hit by a bull while his wife, a famous Flamenco dancer,  prematurely gives birth to a baby girl after watching the horrible accident of her husband. The shock it’s what caused the premature delivery. Both are rushed to the hospital. Antonio survives but paralyzed from his neck down while Carmen’s mother dies at birth. Encarna (Maribel Verdú) is a nurse at the hospital who is hired to take care of both Antonio and his daughter, but she apparently has higher plans to herself and gives them both a cruel life.  Years pass and Encarna becomes his wife and the full manager of the house, while Carmen is now grown up and doesn’t fit in Encarna’s plans. So she asks her lover to kill Carmen. Unable to assassinate her due to his clumsiness, Carmen escapes and finds a traveling group of bullfighter dwarves who help her. Little by little she finds her own way to survive, looking a place in this world and perhaps love.

The story is tremendous and tragic, in a way the ending reminds me of “Pan’s Labyrinth”, where all those sad, tragic stories has too many lessons to teach and some of the darkest events can be explained in a logical way but also in a fantasy, fictional way according with the logic of fairy tales.

One of the best achievements of Pablo Berger is that he could recreated with great success the look and the feeling of Spain in the early 1920s with magnificent results. Blancanieves is beautifully shot and a great cinematic experience like few movies can give nowadays.




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