A band of bullfighting dwarfs save the life of a young woman with amnesia. They end up taking her under their wing when they find out that she has seemingly natural skills as a bullfighter, upon which they can capitalize not only for their act but for her own personal gain. As she does not know her name or background, the dwarfs coin her Blancanieves, after the famed fairy tale. What they are all unaware of is that she is really Carmen, the daughter of the once great matador, Antonio Villalta. On the day Carmen was born, her father suffered a career ending accident, and her mother died in childbirth. Her father quickly remarried his nurse, the evil Encarna. Although raised by her grandmother during her early years, Carmen, following the death of her grandmother, went to live with Encarna while an adolescent, Encarna who treated her as a slave. Carmen eventually found her disabled father, who was hidden away and treated poorly by Encarna. In the meantime, Encarna was cavorting with the... Written by
This silent rendition of the classic Snow White tale rivals not only last year's The Artist but Disney's own essential version.
Although The Artist, the first Best Picture winner I've agreed with in a long time, took the mainstream by storm of its silent film renaissance style, Blancanieves is a similar revivial, if not as self-referential, and is on par with The Artist. Silent cinema in the modern age feels like it offers a brand new way of expressive cinema and Blancanieves is oozing with expression. With textured black and white shots and energetic editing, it's a rush of raw inspiration, making full use of the frame. With such a timeless story, there's a risk of it being a complete retread, but Blancanieves tells it in such a refreshing and unpredictable way in which I was constantly looking for the famous plot points and then pleasantly surprised me when it's revealed which character is playing what role. It's a film with such a warmth for the characters and builds their relationships in a great archetypal way. With its great pace, it hits story beats efficiently and I was never bored and always caught off guard with its reinventions, with the bullfighting angle implemented seamlessly. The highlight is the fantastic score, which also rivals The Artist, with its variety of styles, the best parts being when it has flamenco influences. Blancanieves is a very entertaining and tragic rendition of a great story that avoids sentimentality all the way. Although it winds down a little in the last third where it's run out of steam too much to develop the seven dwarfs fairly, its highs are still strong. One of the best the year has to offer and rivals Disney's own Snow White.
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