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Blancanieves

Official submission (Spain) for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Directed by Pablo Berger, Blancanieves is a Spanish silent film pastiche in the style of The Artist that updates the story of Snow White to 1920s Spain. It begins with famous matador Antonio Villalta (Daniel Giménez Cacho) being gored in the bullring, which causes his saintly wife Carmen de Triana (Inma Cuesta) to go into labour and die in childbirth. His career ended, Villalta marries his scheming nurse Encarna (Maribel Verdú), who becomes wicked stepmother to young Blancanieves (Sofía Oria), who has only her scene-stealing pet cockerel Pepe (a shoo-in for best animal performance of the year) for company. However, when her father dies under mysterious circumstances, Blancanieves (now played by Macarena García) runs away from Encarna and falls in with seven bullfighting dwarves, whereupon she learns their craft and determines to follow in her father’s footsteps. Maribel Verdú is deliciously evil as Encarna, vamping it up like there’s no tomorrow and clearly having a whale of a time in the process; needless to say, she’s also supremely sexy with it, strutting about in a variety of saucy costumes and taking the mistress-servant relationship a little further than strictly necessary. Macarena García (who deservedly shared the Best Actress prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival) is equally good as Blancanieves, delivering a feisty, likeable performance that’s utterly charming, while there’s strong support from all seven dwarves. The excellent script blends comedy, melodrama and tragedy, stirring in a suitably dark, gothic vibe that would make the Brothers Grimm smile in their graves; the ending is particularly strong in this respect. It’s also beautifully shot, courtesy of Kiko de la Rica’s stunning black and white photography. On top of that, the production design work is impeccable and there’s a wonderful silent movie-style score by Alfonso de Vilallonga. It’s worth noting that director Pablo Berger spent ten years on Blancanieves and the film really feels like a labour of love. Impressively directed and beautifully shot, Blancanieves is a hugely entertaining silent movie pastiche that’s by turns laugh-out-loud funny, powerfully moving, surprisingly dark and occasionally shocking. Highly recommended. – Matthew Turner, ViewLondonOfficial Trailer
Showtimes: 

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Directed by: 
Pablo Berger
Running Time: 
105
Country(ies): 
Spain
Language: 
English Subtitles
Starring: 
Maribel Verdú, Ángela Molina, Sofia Orla, Macarena García, José Maria Pou, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Inma Cuesta
Screenplay by: 
Pablo Berger

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