Sunday 19 November 2017

Snow White gets silent and artistic

Fairy tale: Turning up the stylish looks
Fairy tale: Turning up the stylish looks

Gavin Burke

Blancanieves

(No Cert, IFI, 104 minutes)

Director: Pablo Berger Stars: Maribel Verdu, Damiel Giménez Cacho, Inma Cuesta, Angela Molina

4 STARS

It seems there is still room for another Snow White movie. In between last year's two-hander of Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, and the sequel to the latter next year, comes this black-and white Spanish oddity.

Keeping to the broad strokes of the original Grimm brothers fairy tale, Torremolinos 73 writer-director Pablo Berger updates the story to Seville in the early 1920s and lends the proceedings a style reminiscent of the silent era.

Shorthand: Snow White meets The Artist.

Famous matador Antonio Villalta (Giménez Cacho) falls into a deep depression when his beloved wife dies giving birth to their daughter, Carmencita.

Unable to think straight, Antonio is manipulated into marriage by his wanton nurse Encarna (Verdu), who ensures Carmencita be treated like a servant.

When Carmencita grows into a beautiful woman (MacarenaGarcia) and tries to reconnect with her ailing father, Encarna orders her lover/chauffeur to kill her; the girl escapes, however, and is taken in by a group of diminutive travelling performers . . .

As Blancanieves progresses, Berger strays just far enough from the source material to keep the audience guessing as to the outcome, which turns out to be quite the surprise. Style over substance, yes, but what style – and if there's room for another Snow White film, there's space still for more retro love-ins.

Gavin Burke

Irish Independent

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