TrustMovies has seen BLANCANIEVES twice already (a third watch is not out of the question), so he stands by his earlier assessment of this rich-in-so-many-ways movie. The below is an extended version of what he published when the film opened last year's Spanish Cinema Now series from the FSLC. What we have here is a much more genuine "silent film" (if that's what you're looking for) than last year's Oscar-winning Best Picture.
silent films" are concerned.)
director Pablo Berger (who, nearly a decade ago offered up his only other full-length feature,
the great Torremolinos 73), combines the customs of Spain (bullfighting, anyone?) with the story's own identifying objects (a wicked stepmother gloriously played by Maribel Verdú, above, who seems even better on that second viewing) into a Grimm stew of dark and delightful variations on the original (and already dark) fairy tale's themes.
Kiko de la Rica of The Last Circus) -- never more so than in its amazingly beautiful, sad and mysterious final scene.
Cohen Media Group and running 104 minutes, opens this Friday, March 29, in new York (and the Angelika Film Center and the Paris Theatre) and in the Los Angeles area (at Laemmle's Royal and Sundance Sunset Cinema. I believe there will be a further rollout, but these are the only playdates I could find, as of now....
Torremolinos 73, stick it on your must-see list for an amazingly funny, real, surprising look at Spain toward the end of the Franco regime. (The link above is to my talk with actor Javier Cámara about the film)
In person, Berger is gracious and accessible, and this little round-up would be longer than it is, had TM not forgotten, in one of his increasing senior moments, to bring his pocket recorder with him. So, instead, he scribbles away as Berger speaks. TM first explains to the filmmaker how much he loves Blancanieves, and particularly the way in which it sort of leaves, at the finale, the more regular world of storytelling, to becomes something quite else. He then tells Berger that he has watched the film twice and is still wondering about/musing on that strange ending. (I have taken the liberty of quoting as best as my notes would let me, below, even though I did not have my recorder. In the short conversation that follows, TM appears in boldface and Berger in standard type. )
José María Pou, above) to whom our heroine signs away her life, so why would not someone as famous as this lady bullfighter end up as an attraction in a carny show -- as a kind of Lola Montès? Boy, I wish Andrew Sarris could have seen this movie! -- to feminism: Does that tear indicate that the girl is saddened not to have found her prince, or sad because the prince turns out to be only the most handsome of the dwarfs? Or maybe she is realizing that this carny show, and only this, will be here new role/career in life?)
(Berger smiles.) You have understood things. But the meaning here is open to interpretation. It's up to you. To each viewer.
Hmmm... Some viewers, I think -- and I am sometimes among them, though not so much here, with your film -- want more guidance.
That's how many artists feel about their creations.
Really: I believe they are like your children because they have the same DNA!
(We laugh.) Well put. I can hardly think of two films more dissimilar than Toremolinos 73 -- which shows us a slice of Spain toward the end of the Franco regime, in which you used, in addition to Javier Cámara and Candela Peña, that great actor Mads Mikkelsen --
He is a fine actor. And so very versatile.
-- and now Blancanieves. How did you come to this one?
Yes, and now you have inspired us. This may be a little soon to ask, since you don't make movies all that often: Do you have any idea -- movie-wise -- what you might do next?
Well, I have now two different scripts ready to go ahead.
What are they about, and which do you think you'll do first?
Wow. That notion certainly separates the men from the boys.
and so I thank Señor Berger for his time -- and his
two very different and very fine films.)