Blancanieves: Snow in black-and-white
- Pablo Berger's silent film Blancanieves had its world premiere in Toronto
Though the previous film of Spanish director Pablo Berger, the sex comedy Torremolinos 73 [+see also:
film profile], was a hit back home, the film-maker had a hard time finding a producer willing to invest in his next project, Blancanieves [+see also:
interview: Pablo Berger
film profile], which premiered this week in Toronto.
Long before Michel Hazanavicius made The Artist [+see also:
interview: Michel Hazanavicius
film profile], Berger came up with the idea of making a Spain-set silent film, with the story an adaptation of the fairy tale of Snow White (Blancanieves in Spanish), relocated to Andalusia in southern Spain in the 1910s and 20s.
The resulting film is a thing of beauty to behold, and arguably the most original take on the ever-popular Snow White legend, which was already adapted twice this year for the cinema, in the US productions Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman.
Maribel Verdu (El laberinto del fauno (Pan's labyrinth) [+see also:
film profile], Y tu mama tambien) gleefully plays the wicked stepmother, who's here been transformed into a nurse who attends to Snow White's birth (her mother dies in labour) and who subsequently woos Snow's father, a famous bullfighter (Daniel Gimenez Cacho), who's become a paraplegic after having been gored in the arena.
As Carmen (Snow White is only a nickname) grows up from a little girl (Sofia Oria) to a young woman (Macarena Garcia, very good), she takes up her father's profession, aided by a group of seven little people, who travel around as mini-bullfighters.
Containing high drama and humour, as well as a serious dose of flamenco-inspired music, Blancanieves is a highly enjoyable, slightly protracted film that pays homage to the silents while giving them a new twist.
Camerawork by Kiko de la Rica and production design by Alain Bainée are especially noteworthy.
Arcadia Motion Pictures produced the film, in association with Nix Films, Sisifo Films, The Kraken Films, Noodles Production, Arte France Cinéma, Canal+, Televisió de Catalunya - TV3 and Eurimages. It will be distributed in Spain by Wanda Vision.
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