Life goes on, and a large chunk of our life is movies.
Last Wednesday we saw the opening film of Pelikula, the 12th annual Spanish Film Festival, ongoing at Greenbelt 3 Cinema 1. Blancanieves, Pablo Berger’s adaptation of Snow White, is Los Hermanos Grimmer: a silent period film in exquisite black and white, lushly scored and brilliantly acted. There were two competing Hollywood versions of Snow White last year—forget them. The silent period film The Artist won the Oscar for Best Picture—forget that. They all pale next to Blancanieves, a retelling that captures the beauty, terror, joy and sadness of the fairy tale. Except that it happens in the real world.
In Berger’s adaptation, the heroine is Carmencita, an orphan deprived of her father’s love by her wicked stepmother (Maribel Verdu from Y Tu Mama Tambien). The setting is Spain in the 1920s, and the absent father is the king…of bullfighters. Yes, there are dwarves. And poisoned apples.
Blancanieves is rated PG-13. The last screening is on Friday, 11 October at 9:30pm.
Gravity by Alfonso Cuaron is every bit as awesome as we hoped it would be. It’s been seven years since Cuaron’s last film, the brilliant and criminally underrated Children of Men; from the opening shot of Gravity, we could see why the follow-up took so long. Stunning in its detail, magnificent in its evocation of the cold, silent vastness of space, Gravity is a movie that grabs you by the neck and doesn’t let go.
As kids growing up in the era of the Apollo space missions, we dreamed of walking through that immensity. Gravity reawakens us to that possibility.
For all its technical achievements, the real strength of Gravity lies in its human characters. With his reassuring presence, George Clooney is the wise mentor—the Obi-Wan—in this space drama. Playing the astronaut who is violently separated from her craft and set adrift in space, Sandra Bullock reminds us of her star-making performance in Speed as the girl driving the doomed bus—except that the girl is now a rocket scientist. It’s an amazingly empathic performance that comes with considerable physical challenges, and she is completely believable in it. We feel her terror and desperation, and her strength. Cuaron and Bullock have taken us to space. (We especially like the images of birth and evolution.)
We saw Gravity twice in two days, first on a regular screen, then in IMAX 3D. Our cat had just died so we thought, “Based on the trailer, everyone in Gravity is likely to die. We feel like death, so we might as well see it.” The underlying philosophy being: When in the depths, try to hit rock-bottom, see if you will bounce. The strangest thing happened. The film brought us to the brink of hopelessness and utter despair, and it made us want to live. And reserve seats on the commercial space shuttle flight. Space is vast. Life is huge. Never fear.
[Gravity in IMAX 3D is extraordinary but not essential. The 3D glasses at SM Aura IMAX fit better than other theatres’ 3D glasses, but there was a distracting blue glow at the bottom of the screen. It turned out to be the reflection from the blue lights on the floor. Could you fix that, please?]