“Blancanieves” (2012): Movie Review

BlancanievesBlancanieves (2012)

Written and Directed by: Pablo Berger
Cast:  Maribel Verdu, Emilio Gavira, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Angela Molina, Sofia Oria, Macarena Garcia

The story is familiar, you’ve known it since childhood.

The film teases us for possessing that foreknowledge, giving us our evil stepmother (in spades), dwarves, murder plots, potion and poison apple. Transplanting the tale to Spain is ingenious and envisioning it as a silent movie nothing short of brilliant. Kudos to scenarist Berger for retaining the darkness of the original story (very Grimm, indeed).

Faces are all-important in silent cinema and “Blancanieves” features some dandies. Young Carmelita/Snow White, played at various ages by two gifted young actresses, Macarena Garcia and Sofia Oria, is beautiful and innocent, lit from within by an inextinguishable radiance. Her father’s new wife and chief tormentor (Maribel Verdu) has amazing, cadaverous cheekbones and a glare that would melt granite. She is malign and venal and her comeuppance all the more satisfying as a result. No fate could be too terrible for a face like that.

This is a Spain that has yet to be rent by war and partisanship–people still stream by the hundreds and thousands into hot, dusty forums to watch their favorite matator do battle against a murderous bull, cheering lustily at this bloodsport. Some might decry the cruelty of bullfighting, but none can deny its awful, visceral power. It is an arena where legends can be born and great narratives written (or invented). A perfect place to set a fairy tale–keeping in mind the cautionary nature of many of those efforts and refusing to remove or expurgate the blood that was frequently shed to help illustrate a hard life lesson, the kind that can only be learned once.

ΩΩΩ1/2 (out of 5)

About Cliff Burns

I'm a literary writer, specializing in slipstream/ alternative/surreal/science fiction. My influences include Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, David Cronenberg, Rene Magritte, any artist who defies convention and busts open genres, attacking the status quo.
This entry was posted in Cinema, cult film, fantasy film, film, film review, foreign language film, movie, movie review, silent movie and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “Blancanieves” (2012): Movie Review

  1. Cliff,
    I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award for Cinema Arete as I think it goes without saying that sharing your intelligence and insight with the rest of us has been a constant source of nourishment and a model of a very high standard to which we all might constantly aspire.

    Details are at:


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