Snow White Dies at the End proves to be a true testament to Slamdance's mission of uplifting bold unadulterated talent.

Slamdance Film Review: Snow White Dies at the End


Slamdance Film Review: Snow White Dies at the End
Director: Kristijan Risteski

Vertigo Visual
Premiere: 1.27.22

With Slamdance fully virtual this year, I was able to attend the festival by simply propping my computer up on some pillows, snuggling up with my favorite snacks and scrolling through all the films that made it into the 2022 lineup—some wonderful, some strange. One such film I stumbled upon was titled Snow White Dies at the End from writer and director Kristijan Risteski. I found it at first strange, later wonderful. 

The description promised a group of proper-farting citizens being punished by their backward farting society. You’d imagine my surprise when the credits rolled and naught a fart was heard during the entire two-hour runtime. I know, criminal. Outrageous. Disingenuous. Even so, the film managed to deliver an absurd story, beautifully interwoven plots, well-developed characters and a dash of delirious humor.

The film actually follows the lives of seven ordinary Macedonian citizens: an addict selling drugs with his godmother, three best friends being forced to grow up and two young lovers who embraced each other after being ostracized by society. There are some surreal moments and twisting storylines and throughout it all we are guided by the holoptic gaze of our trusty narrator, Milica the fly. 

My first impressions of Snow White Dies at the End were bleak. The characters seemed bland and the plot slow-moving. Halfway through the movie, I even thought I might not bother to finish it. I considered the comforting lure of other streaming services I am subscribed to, each filled with safe and easily palatable content. But, I stuck with it and continued watching the film, and I found the characters growing on me. What I thought was poorly manicured dialogue was actually filed to a sharp point. The characters were revealing themselves to me through their actions and mannerisms rather than dry exposition. 

Each character in this film was built lovingly, layer by layer, with each mundane scene bringing us closer to the true characters on screen. The overall film portrayed a beautiful mosaic that reminded me of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia written with a more twisted, comedic hand. The actors were able to run with the dialogue and embody their characters fully. I was particularly captivated by the chemistry between Sashko Kocev, Valentin Kostadinovski and Ivica Dimitrijevic who played three best friends and were so convincing I wanted to fly out to Macedonia just to hang out with them. David Janakiev also gave a charming performance as Igor, the only boy who can make sneaking into a girl’s house to watch her sleep seem cute (besides Edward Cullen, of course).

Visually, the film paints a grim and dull portrait of these people’s lives with occasional bursts of color and light that are usually connected to surreal moments of disconnect, where even the audience’s suspension of disbelief is tested. Cinematographers Dimo Popov and Sevdije Kastrati masterfully balance bleakness with bright and holographic visuals. 

While Snow White Dies at the End lacked flatulence, it did have talking toilets, and more importantly, it had the gusto that I expect from Slamdance films. It delivered on telling a unique story (really, three stories!) and took me on a journey like no other film could. Overall, the film was a testament to Slamdance’s mission of refuting the algorithmic content and uplifting new, bold talent. I’m glad I stuck with it. –Morgan Keller