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.


COME AND SEE
IDI I SMOTRI
1985, Janus Films, 140 min, Soviet Union, Dir: Elem Klimov

Its title drawn from a chilling passage in the Book of Revelation, this nightmarish, fact-based WWII drama is told through the eyes of 14-year-old Florya (Aleksey Kravchenko), a Belarusian boy eager to join the fight against Nazi invaders. But Florya’s dreams of heroics are quickly replaced by the litany of horrors he witnesses from the moment he joins the army to the film’s unforgettable conclusion. “One of the most devastating films ever about anything. … I have rarely seen a film more ruthless in its depiction of human evil.” - Roger Ebert.


UGETSU
UGETSU MONOGATARI
1953, Janus Films, 94 min, Japan, Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi

An ambitious potter (Masayuki Mori) and his devoted spouse (Kinuyo Tanaka) as well as a kindred couple (Eitaro Ozawa, Mitsuko Mito) are torn apart by the civil-war chaos of 16th-century Japan. Both men realize their material dreams but at a tragic cost to their respective mates. In particular, Mori’s shallow success is reflected in his delirious romance with a ghostly noblewoman (Machiko Kyo), an affair that will drive him to the brink of madness. One of the most poignant evocations of the illusory nature of worldly desires and missed opportunities and one of the most haunting depictions of the supernatural ever committed to celluloid. Winner of the 1953 Venice Film Festival Silver Lion Award. “If poetry is manifest in each second, each shot filmed by Mizoguchi, it is because…it is the instinctive reflection of the filmmaker’s creative nobility. … The director of UGETSU MONOGATARI can describe an adventure which is at the same time a cosmogony.” – Jean-Luc Godard.


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