Macarena Garcia

Blancanieves

Blancanieves, Spanish director Pablo Berger’s second feature, will turn to American audiences at an unlikely intersection of tastes and trends. On the heels of The Artist and last year’s near-perfect Tabu, Blancanieves is the latest in a string of European-produced throwbacks to silent-era filmmaking. But the other major element at play here is the film’s classical fairy tale structure: it’s a version of Snow White updated to the world of Spanish matadors in the 1910s and 1920s, which makes Blancanieves a necessary relief from brash but vacant Hollywood retreads of the world of Grimm like Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. But regardless of its potent timeliness, the greatest asset of Blancanieves is its masterful, elegant, and palpably inspired embrace of silent-era styles and techniques. Blancanieves is inventive while remaining nostalgic and familiar, intricately stylized while still retaining the capacity to move you, and completely devoid of audible dialogue while still filling your ears will a rich, diverse palette of film music. Of the handful of silent-era throwbacks to be released in the last few years, Blancanieves, more than any so far, takes a devoted and orthodox approach to silent-era techniques while remaining fresh and surprising. Far from an arthouse gimmick, Blancanieves marries style and story in a way that seems so obvious and fitting that it’s a wonder why this film hadn’t been made before.

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