Blancanieves on DVD

Tuesday, 06 August 2013 00:00
Posted in Cult Movies on DVD
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Blancanieves comes to DVDRelatively hot on the heels of Oscar-winning silent movie “The Artist” comes “Blancanieves”, a silent, warped Spanish take on the classic tale of Snow White by the Brothers Grimm. In this striking, black and white production, set in 1920s Seville, Carmen (aka Snow White) is the daughter of a famous bullfighter who joins a travelling band of dwarves and develops into a fearless toreador in her own right, much to the chagrin of her evil stepmother.

Tragically, Carmen’s mother dies in childbirth and her father (Daniel Giménez Cacho – “Bad Education”) is crippled following a nasty goring in the bullring. His nurse, Encarna (Maribel Verdú – “Pan’s Labyrinth”) spies an opportunity to become the new object of his affections and in the process takes advantage of his status and wealth. Poor Carmen is shunned and left in the care of her grandmather (Ángela Molina – “Live Flesh”).

“Blancanieves” is a stunning film. The black and white cinematography immediately sucks you in despite its rarity in this day and age, and the evocative soundtrack – a mixture of classical Spanish guitar and orchestral music - matches it step for step, helping to fill in the story and build the atmosphere.

There is very little captioned dialogue, and thankfully the actors play it with much more subtlety than in the silent movies of the early 20th Century. That is not to say that there is a dearth of scenery chewing, because the seductive Verdú steals every scene she is in as the very arch, jealous and decidedly kinky stepmother. She adorns herself in some truly wild outfits as she burns her way through what should be Carmen’s inheritance fund.

Not being a fan of blood sports, I was dreading the bullfighting scenes but they are shot with care and do not depict the coup de grâce. The director, Pablo Berger, does a good job of capturing the grace, poise and excitement of the traditional event, however.

The acting standard is good, especially the young actress who stars as the childhood incarnation of Carmen, played with cheeky confidence by Sofía Oria. The film also features a terrific turn by a rooster called Pepe who becomes Carmen’s best friend but also gets her into a spot of hot water.

This is a wonderful film, beautifully shot, acted and complemented by a super soundtrack, and I heartily recommend it. It is an ultra-accessible, European delight. No wonder it has won 30 international movie awards!

Special features in this Collector’s Edition include:

  • Making-of (29 mins)
  • Trailer
  • Art cards

 

The making-of is detailed and full of interesting facts about the film. What struck me most however was how odd and less striking everything looks in colour after watching the feature in black and white! The DVD’s picture quality is good, with impressive amounts of detail and plenty of depth in the whites and blacks.

“Blancanieves” (2012) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Studiocanal. The main feature has a running time of 101 minutes approx, carries a ‘12’ certificate and retails for £19.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

Last modified on Sunday, 11 August 2013 05:36

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