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Blancanieves

By REBECCA JACOBSON
All filmmakers who tackle fairy tales give the stories their own spin. Take two other recent Snow White adaptations: In Mirror Mirror, the evil queen wears a facial mask of parrot poop, and in Snow White and the Huntsman, she bathes in milky goop while Snow promenades through an enchanted forest filled with happy bunnies. Even so, when the dwarves in this Spanish adaptation of Snow White turn out to be bullfighters, it’s a twist that raises eyebrows. That’s not the only winking surprise in Pablo Berger’s silent black-and-white film, which livens up the Teutonic original with bullfighting, a rhythmic flamenco score and even a BDSM-practicing stepmother (a thoroughly campy Maribel Verdú) who outfits her lover in a collar and leash. Here, Snow White is the daughter of a famous toreador who is gored and paralyzed on the same day his wife dies. There’s an obligatory period of mistreatment and loneliness at the hands of her stepmother, after which Snow escapes with the friendly gang of dwarves on the bullfighting circuit. As with its cinematic cousin The Artist, Blancanieves uses intertitles sparingly, relying instead on exaggerated light and shadow, overwrought gesture and close-ups so extreme they might make you recoil. It’s visually and sonically stimulating, but the characters end up as flat or grotesque caricatures, and Berger seems more interested in surges of melodrama than in engaging storytelling. BDSM and bullfighting aside, there’s no heat.
 

Special Note

Fox Tower
 
  • Genres: Drama
  • Running Time: 104 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, September 28, 2012
  • Country: Spain
  • Language: Silent
  • Critic's Score: B-
  • Starring: Maribel Verdú [Encarna], Daniel Cacho [Antonio Villalta], Angela Molina [Doña Concha], Pere Ponce [Genaro], Macarena García [Carmen / Blancanieves], Sofia Oria [Carmencita], Josep Maria Pou [Don Carlos], Inma Cuesta [Carmen de Triana], Ramón Barea [Don Martín], Emilio Gavira [Jesusín]
  • Directed by: Pablo Berger [Director], Pablo Berger [Screenwriter], Pablo Berger [Producer], Ibón Cormenzana [Producer], Jérôme Vidal [Producer], Jeremy Burdek [Executive Producer], Nadia Khamlichi [Executive Producer], Adrian Politowski [Executive Producer], Gilles Waterkeyn [Executive Producer], Alfonso de Vilallonga [Original Music], Kiko de la Rica [Cinematographer], Fernando Franco [Film Editor], Rosa Estévez [Casting], Alain Bainée [Art Director], Paco Delgado [Costume Designer]
  • Watch the trailer
 

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  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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