Sunday, February 2, 2014

Family Movie Night: Blancanieves

Title: Blancanieves
Director: Pablo Berger
Original Release: 2012
Choice: My Wife's
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
What if Snow White were really a carnival act bullfighter in the 1920s?  Such is the concept for Blancanieves, a Spanish black-and-white movie, presented silent-film style.  A visually dazzling film, Blancanieves simultaneously celebrates, reinvents and pokes fun at the old Grimm fairy tale.  Most of the story revolves around the women: mother, grandmother, step-mother, child, young woman, etc.  All are stunningly beautiful, of course - base-level requirement in Spanish cinema.  However, Blancanieves's (Snow White's) relationships with the men in her life are well developed, too.  Her history with Dad is heartbreaking in the beginning and end, but quite sweet in the middle.  One dwarf falls in love with her, another tries to kill her, yet another is a cross-dresser.



After we went to see the latest Thor movie, Mock, Drama Guy and I discussed the bigness of films these days.  All of the big budget epics are CGIed up the wazoo and it would be nice to see someone find a different approach.  Exploring the possibilities of black-and-white seems a promising direction.  Blancanieves is definitely a modern film but the homage to another era is effective and refreshing.  I assumed the project was inspired in part by The Artist but Berger had already storyboarded his movie before he knew anything about the other film.  He was furious that someone had beaten him to the punch on the idea.

My favorite unexpected treat was the name of the bull calf Blancanieves is scheduled to "fight" in the big arena in Seville: Ferdinando.  That's almost surely a tribute to Munro Leaf's children's book, The Story of Ferdinand.  It's a nice touch, particularly given the fact that Leaf wasn't even Spanish.  He was from Baltimore.

Multi-generational considerations:
  • The film was released with a PG-13 rating in the United States for violence and sexuality.
  • Evil Step-Mom is into S&M. Blancanieves sees her riding on her lover's back and putting him on a leash - nothing graphic but there's no missing the point.  It all goes over Blancanieves's head and it did for Our Girl, too.

16 comments:

  1. Despite all the good things you're saying about it, I see that you only gave it a 3. Still, I'll look into it even with the comparison to The Artist, a movie I thought was overrated.

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    1. It's a high 3. In time, I could perhaps be talked into a 4 but I don't feel a strong need to watch it again - my 4 criterion.

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    2. Hey, shoot me an email at some point.
      Thanks!

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  2. Visually it looks nice, I loved the music.
    Definitely one I need to look for, thanks.

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    1. Very satisfying visually and the music's great.

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  3. Thanks Squid! I'll be on the lookout for this one. In the top poster, Blancanieves looks a bit like Stevie Nicks, which attracts my attention. Resemblance deteriorates in the trailer, but there's castanets! A must-see.

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  4. I think the originality of the presentation (for both this and the Artist) is a little undercut by the familiarity of the story. Redoing fairy tales is pretty uninspiring (as was redoing Singing in the Rain), so while I applaud the intention I'm not particularly engaged by the premise.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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    1. Yes, I believe that may have detracted a little from the appeal for me, too. The execution was masterful but in an industry starved for new stories, yet another retread is not the most inspiring choice.

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  5. Looks like it could be interesting. But might be more of a conversation if Berger's next film is more impressive.

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    1. ,,,Do you know what his next project is? Or is this just general consideration for any director? I couldn't find anything about upcoming films myself.

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  6. Re-imagining fairy tales is becoming a cliche, but this sounds original A.C.

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    Replies
    1. The physical trappings are most satisfying.

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  7. The trailer is beautiful...I'll have to remember to look for this one.

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