Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blancanieves: Pablo Berger

Returning to the London Film Festival's offerings after an unnecessarily long pause, this film was a
definite high point.   Silent, virtually, and in black and white, the story is a retelling of the Snow White fairy tale set in a recent Spain where a celebrated bullfighter is gored when distracted by a camera flash, the incident triggering his wife's giving birth to the heroine but dying as she does so.   The now crippled father wants nothing to do with the child while allowing the nurse who looks after him to marry him (a scarily icy performance by Maribel Verdu).   When the child is in her late teens
she is attacked by her stepmother's lover but escapes though she loses her memory.   Saved by a troupe of dwarfs who have supporting roles at bullfights, she one day saves the life of one of them by
jumping into the ring and distracting a rampaging bull with some classic moves.   This leads to her
becoming the star of the troupe and finally she appears to great acclaim in the ring where her father
ended his career.   A successful performance ends with her sparing the bull (a tradition after a truly
great showing) but her stepmother, in disguise, gives her a poisioned apple which kills her (or perhaps leaves her catatonic) to become a freak sideshow attraction.   Excellent camera work which
enhances the Gothic nature of the story; a very good musical score and well considered performance
make this a film worth seeing again.

1 comment:

pppatty said...

she learned her fighting skills from her father - not by osmosis, so he did indeed care for her. I suspect you may have been resting your eyes at the time?