Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

See this movie! Blancanieves, the best black & white silent film since The Artist!

A wondrous, intoxicating new silent from Spain, in which the Brothers Grimm's `Snow White' gets a modernized, feminist, bullfighting spin.

See this movie! Blancanieves, the best black & white silent film since The Artist!

Do the Macarena. Macarena Garcia stars as a bullfighting Spanish Snow White in "Blancanieves."
Do the Macarena. Macarena Garcia stars as a bullfighting Spanish Snow White in "Blancanieves."

An inspiring and intoxicating mix of the old and the new, Blancanieves – a Spanish black-and-white silent that takes the Brothers Grimm’s Snow White fable and flips it and spins it, wondrously – snuck into the Ritz Five last week. If you loved how the Oscar-winning The Artist celebrated the spirit and technique of vintage Silent Era classics, you’ll love Blancanieves even more so. Pablo Berger’s playful but perceptive gem is set in 1920s Seville, and tells the tale of Carmen (Sofia Oria as a child, Macarena Garcia as a woman),  raised by her wicked stepmother (Maribel Verdú, of Pan's Labyrinth and Y Tu Mama Tambien fame) and then cast out, presumed killed. But of course Carmen, aka Blancanieves, isn’t dead. Instead, she takes up with a wandering band of dwarf toreadors, learning to fight bulls. Carmen becomes a star, in fact, in the bullring, which doesn’t make her old stepmom very happy.

Dreamy and surreal, gorgeously shot, with a rich and compelling score from composer Alfonso de Vilallonga, Blancanieves pays homage to the Golden Age of European cinema, and revels in the dark magic of fairy tales. It is nothing short of a masterpiece. Four stars out of four stars, it is easily among the year's best films.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays, and his blog, On Movies Online, can be found here. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Steven Rea's previous blog posts can be found here. Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Reach Steven at srea@phillynews.com.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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