- Mad Dog Bradley
Inspired, perhaps, by The Artist (or, instead, happily continuing an odd new trend for B+W silent movies), writer/director/producer Pablo Berger’s handsome Spanish production (with English subtitles) updates the Grimm Brothers Snow White tale to the world of 1920s bullfighting – and, well, why not?
Not a film for kids, this has famous matador Antonio Villalta (Daniel Giménez Cacho) lose everything in a traumatic opening scene: he’s paralysed in the ring and his adoring wife dies in childbirth, leaving him at the mercy of gold-digging nurse Encarna (Maribel Verdú, best-known outside Europe for Y Tu Mamá También), who marries him, reveals herself as evil (and kinky), keeps him a prisoner in his palatial home, lies to him about the existence of his daughter Carmen (Sofia Oria) and, eventually, forces the girl to work as a slave.
When Carmen’s nearly murdered by Encarna’s chauffeur, she’s saved by a travelling troupe of dwarves (‘Los Enanitos Toreros’/’The Dwarf Toreadors’), who prove friendly and sweet despite Berger using every chance to make them look like they’ve snuck in from director Tod Browning’s infamous 1932 classic Freaks.
Gorgeous to behold and with beautiful playing from Oria and, as the older Carmen, Macarena García, this might suffer a little from its occasional and inherent peculiarity, but it’s never anything like a load of bull.