Monday, August 05, 2013

Review of BlancaNieves

A really enjoyable, beautiful modern black and white silent film - funny, sad, totally engaging. Loosely based on Snow White, this is a very Spanish film, with lots of heavy Catholicism and bullfighting. It's set in the 1920s (ending in 1929), that is during the proto-fascist dictatorship of Primo de Rivera - though there is no sign of this. Except for a brief glimpse of a Zeppelin over the bullfight ring, there is almost no sign of the modern world at all.

But it is really beautiful, lots of stunning composition and cinematography, great silent acting, and some really good visual gags. And the wicked stepmother Encarna (played by Maribel Verdu, and somewhat reminiscent of Joan Collins) is really, really wicked. I note in passing that she enjoys S&M sex with her lover, the family chauffeur, who she also collars like a dog in one scene. As I have written elsewhere, these days only S&M sex is transgressive enough to count as really dirty in films. Vanilla sex is just too commonplace to have any symbolic force.

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