Blancanieves is a silent, black-and-white movie version of the brothers Grimm fairy tale Snow White. It is a romantic and beautifully executed remake of the story. It is nominated for an Academy Award this year.
The movie doesn’t have any dialogue with some spoken lines expressed in inter-titles. Blancanieves features a sound track of original music made by Alfonso de Vilallonga. It feels as if the video part of the movie has been choreographed to fit the sound track.
Blancanieves is an updated version of the fairy tale that is set in modern times. The story takes place in 1920’s Seville. It is about Carmen, who is the daughter of the famous bullfighter Antonio Vallarta (Daniel Gimenez Cacho). Her father is revered as a national hero but because of a camera flash during a bull fight, he is gored by a bull and becomes paralyzed from the neck down.
And just like Snow White, Carmen has an evil stepmother in the person of Encarna (Maribel Verdu). She lives off the wealth of her paralyzed husband. She takes in Carmen and keeps her in the coal bin in the basement of her lavish house.
Don’t take Blancanieves as a simple movie. On the contrary, it is a complex film that gives a powerful vision into a fantasy world. The young Carmen is played by Sofia Oria and the old Carmen by Macarena Garcia. The young Oria is especially good. All she does is smile but her movements complement the mature background music.
The original music made by Alfonso Vilallonga is performed by the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra. It also features the world class Flamenco guitarist Juan Gomez Chicuelo. The black and white treatment gives Blancanieves a minimalist look that emphasizes the great music as well as the essence of the story.
The three lead actors, Maribel Verdu, Angela Molina and Daniel Gimenez Cacho, perform to near perfection. The three are all at the peak of their careers. They look as if they enjoy working with director Berger and each other.