FORBIDDEN GAMES
JEUX INTERDITS
1952, Rialto Pictures, 86 min, France, Dir: René Clément

When her parents are killed by an air strike while fleeing Paris during the German invasion, 5-year-old Paulette (Brigitte Fossey) wanders into the French countryside, where she encounters 11-year-old peasant boy Michel (Georges Poujouly). As they build a special, secret friendship, the adults around them play their own games of buffoonish peasant feuds. Ultimately beautiful, hilarious and disturbing, this masterpiece of French postwar cinema won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film.


THE SHAPE OF WATER
2017, Fox Searchlight, 123 min, Canada/USA, Dir: Guillermo del Toro

This otherworldly fable from master story teller Guillermo del Toro is set against the backdrop of Cold War America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg and Doug Jones. “THE SHAPE OF WATER is a wonder to behold. Magical, thrilling and romantic to the core, a sensual and fantastical fairy tale with moral overtones, it’s a film that plays by all the rules and none of them, going its own way with fierce abandon.” - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times


PAN’S LABYRINTH
EL LABERINTO DEL FAUNO
2006, Warner Bros., 118 min, Spain/Mexico/USA, Dir: Guillermo del Toro

In 1944, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) arrives at the home of her new stepfather, a brutal Spanish army captain (Sergi López). While skirmishes between Franco’s forces and republican rebels rage in the surrounding countryside, Ofelia is drawn to an ancient maze, where a mysterious creature assigns her three tasks. As dazzling as its Oscar-winning art direction, cinematography and makeup are, what makes this multilayered fairy tale one of the greatest films of the new millennium is the masterful way it pushes viewers’ emotional buttons, evoking wonder, fear and relief at all the right moments.


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