Blancanieves (12A)

Directed by Pablo Berger
FACT, Liverpool
2nd August - 8th August 2013

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This black-and-white silent movie was a sheer joy to watch, even if you, like me, are totally opposed to the savage spectacle of bullfighting. Loosely based around the story of Snow White And The Seven Dwarves it is a captivating and moving melodrama, beautifully photographed, featuring top notch acting and with a highly accomplished musical soundtrack.

Set in Southern Spain between 1910 -1929, it follows the fluctuating fortunes of a maimed bullfighter's daughter Carmen, played as a child by Sofia Oria and later as an adult by the stunningly beautiful Macarena Garcia.

Paralysed after a being gored by a bull her father Antonio Villalta (Daniel Gimeniz Cacho), suffered a further tragedy on the same day, with his wife dying in childbirth, after bearing Carmen.

Antonio inexplicably gets re-married to his former nurse Encarna, played with relish by Angela Molina. She has a villainous heart with a capital V - almost pantomime-like. You feel like loudly hissing at her when she appears, ready to outdo even more her wicked ways.

She treats Carmen as a slave until she flees from her tyranny.

After her stepmother is later foiled in her plan to kill her, she is brought under the bosom of a travelling band of bullfighting dwarves, who christen her Snow White.

They are awestruck by Carmen's prowess at bullfighting, inherited from her dad, which leads her to perform in amphitheatres before adoring crowds.

But Encarna is waiting in the wings to deal out more evil upon Carmen.

The end shot of the film will bring a tear to your eye!

Please note: despite appearances to the contrary,the distributors of Blancanieves stated that "no bulls were harmed during the making of the film."

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