BlancanievesPosted: February 28, 2013
I’m not a big fan of The Artist. I was glad it won Best Picture, but I got overhyped on it (the same happens with Inception: everybody was gushing about how amazing it was, so I went to see it and left with a shrug. Good, but not great.) I don’t think The Artist is a bad movie, and Jean Dujardin is a dream, but I find its homage to the Silent Era too transparent from the story to the acting, that it takes me out of the movie a little bit.
So when I found out about “Blancanieves“, Spain’s response to The Artist (and their submission to the Best Foreign Language category at the 2013 Oscars, but it didn’t get nominated), I decided to check it out. It’s a twist on Snow White, set in 1920’s Spain, where Snow White’s mother is a flamenco dancer, her father is a legendary bullfighter who suffers a terrible accident, and the stepmother (Maribel Verdú of Pan’s Labyrinth and Y Tu Mama Tambien, the only actor I recognized) is the nurse who takes care of him. There are also nods to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Freaks, as Snow White is rescued from her stepmother’s murder attempt by a band of dwarf bullfighters, and becomes a bullfighter herself.
A retelling of Snow White? Female bullfighter? A silent film taking its inspiration from the European silent melodrama? Count me in! In my opinion, if you want to make a silent movie in 2012, it should pass for a silent movie made in 1929 without feeling dated, and this certainly does. The acting is great but not exaggerated, the music is excellent, and the stark visual reminiscent of German Expressionism is so perfect for the dark, sad, and slightly surreal story. The ending does feel a little abrupt (I was like “Wait, that’s it? That’s how it ends?!”) but now that I think back about it, it really suits the twisted feel of the whole movie as well as the original Snow White.