CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Blu-ray Review: Beautiful, Mesmerizing World of ‘Blancanieves’
CHICAGO – There’s something even more bittersweet and poignant about the beautiful, mesmerizing “Blancanieves,” new to Blu-ray and DVD, when one thinks that it was one of the last movies that Roger Ebert fell in love with. The legendary critic adored this film so much that he programmed it for the Overlooked Film Festival, which unspooled shortly after his death. Seeing the film now and the way it deals with loss while also paying homage to the history of cinema, it seems almost like a tribute to the man who engendered a love of film for so many people. Although the connection to Ebert is only the final beautiful twist to a major piece of work, one of the more engaging and well-made films of 2013. This film is a special one. Don’t miss it.
I’ll admit that I didn’t see “Blancanieves” in theaters and kind of avoided it. A silent, black-and-white, Spanish version of “Snow White” held little interest for me. I was being silly. First, one notices that Pablo Berger’s film is a marvel behind-the-scenes. The score by Alfonso De Villalonga is undeniably one of the best of the year. It becomes a character in the piece given that it’s used so expertly to convey emotion that would otherwise be done through dialogue. It’s gorgeous. As is the stunning cinematography by Kiko De La Rica and perfect editing by Fernando Franco. The visual compositions of “Blancanieves” as designed by Franco and Berger could be framed and sold in galleries. It’s a lush, stunning experience.
But the reason it works so well is that Berger never lets it become purely visual. He finds a way to touch viewers through character and storytelling more than pure filmmaking ability. Without a single line of spoken dialogue, “Blancanieves” is one of the most emotional films you’ll see this year. It’s only made more so by knowing how much it touched Roger Ebert before he passed. It will move you too.
The Blu-ray is a nicely stacked release with a collectible booklet and making-of special features. Cohen Media Group has really taken leaps this year in their Blu-ray catalog, releasing a number of lost classics and modern ones with strong HD transfers and interesting special features. This is one of their best.
Blancanieves was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 3, 2013
Photo credit: Cohen Media Group
Once upon a time there was a little girl who had never known her mother. She learned the art of her father, a famous bullfighter, but was hated by her evil stepmother. One day she ran away with a troupe of dwarves, and became a legend.
A re-telling of the classic Snow White, Blancanieves is a breathtakingly beautiful homage to the black-and-white Golden Age of European silent cinema, set in a romanticized 1920s Seville.
o The Making Of Blancanieves
o Director’s Introduction
o Blancanieves: Live Concert in Barcelona & Madrid
o Collectible Booklet