Olé! A silent fairy tale that trumps any loud summer blockbuster with its seductive beauty and emotional storyline, this inspired marvel takes place in 1920s Seville, a classic period in Spain’s bullfighting culture, and is a mythic, operatic vision that harkens back to the golden age of Hollywood.
The power of fairy tales on film is evident in this passionate tragic rendition of the brothers Grimm’s Snow White, using characters inspired by Bizet’s Carmen and Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932), Pablo Berger’s Blancanieves (2012), which played at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, is a work of art in its own right.
When her father dies mysteriously, Encarna has the teenage Carmen eliminated but she ends up being saved by a band of dwarf Toreros who perform in a hilarious traveling sideshow. In a Pinocchio inspired sequence, she joins the show and discovers her talent for bullfighting taught to her by her father and is soon recruited by a shady manager to perform in the big bullfighting arenas of Spain.
The poetic artistry of the silent film is making a triumphant return to cinema. The Oscar winning hit The Artist (2011) seems to have opened the door for filmmakers who love the early silent classics and want to revive this cinematic art form. If you liked The Artist, Blancanieves should definitely be on your ‘must see’ list.