Pablo Berger’s ‘Blancanieves’ takes Snow White to a new perspective

The 16th Cine Las America’s International Film Festival opened up on a spectacular note at the Stateside Theatre on April 16 with Pablo Berger’s Blancanieves.

Blancanieves is the retelling of the Grimm brother’s classic, Snow White, set in 1920s Spain through a black and white silent film. The film has a very unique take on the classic, incorporating Spanish culture through elements of bullfighting and flamenco dancing. It comes as no surprise that the film has won 10 Goyas, the Spanish equivalent to the Oscars. The emotion that is transmitted through the cinematography and the soundtrack of the film transform the classic into an artful tale following Carmen who is Snow White.

The beginning of the film shows Antonio Villalta, Carmen’s father and famous bull-fighter, in the ring ready to take on a bull. In the stands is her mother, pregnant with her, who is cheering him on. As fate ensues, Carmen’s father ends up being injured by a bull which lands him as well as Carmen’s mother in the hospital. The mother dies in childbirth and soon after Antonio regains consciousness he realizes that he is paralyzed. Encarna, the nurse who is nursing Carmen’s father, takes it as on opportunity to marry him for his money. After her birth, Carmen lived with her grandmother until she died and soon found herself at her father’s house, but soon realizes that Encarna has taken advantage of him and is keeping him locked in a room. Villalta teaches Carmen how to bull-fight, but once he dies Carmen is left alone and becomes a target for Encarna until she manages to get away and earn a name through bull fighting.

Through a string of events which include a wicked step-mother, a troupe of bull-fighting dwarves and a poisonous apple, Berger telling of Blancanieves is intricate and meaningful. The film itself is wonderfully crafted and the cinematography and soundtrack for the film are put together so well that it effortlessly portrays what the actors are saying through their facial expressions, body language and eyes with no need for spoken dialog. The film makes it very clear when the audience is meant to laugh or cry and makes it easy to want to do both at the same time. While the storyline itself is quite predictable, Berger’s take makes Blancanieves a unique and worthwhile watch.

Estefania de Leon

Estefania was born and raised a true Austinite. She graduated from Crockett High School, where she was editor-in-chief of the Courier for three years, and is currently studying journalism at the University of Texas. She enjoys blogging, photography, and anything Owl City.

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