Blancanieves

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Pablo Berger set his silent, black and white adaptation of Snow White in 1920s Seville -- with bullfighting its central theme. And its plot is not about the fairest of them all, but about a little girl reuniting with her daddy and unwittingly following in his footsteps. Carmencita (Sofia Oria) loses both her parents when her father (Daniel Gimenez Cacho) is gored and paralyzed and her mother (Inma Cuesta) dies giving birth. Initially the child lives with her grandmother (Angela Molina), but when tragedy strikes, she’s taken in by the evil Encarna (Maribel Verdu), Dad’s second wife, who gives the girl awful chores and forbids her from the floor where her father lives. When Carmencita grows up (now played by Macarena Garcia), she manages to run away, gets knocked out, and is discovered by a member of the Bullfighting Dwarves, who take in the now-amnesiac, dub her Snow White, and reintroduce her to the sport. Berger’s eye is an artistic one and his camera is quite mobile. The only piece that doesn’t always gel is the score; the film often conveys a darkness while the music remains whimsical. That darkness continues until the credits roll, with an ambiguous final scene that doesn’t exactly imply a happy ending. (TO)
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