THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS
LA BATTAGLIA DI ALGERI
1966, Rialto Pictures, 121 min, Algeria/Italy, Dir: Gillo Pontecorvo

The Algerian struggle for independence is presented in a compelling, ultra-realistic style by director Gillo Pontecorvo in this landmark docudrama. Refusing to make villains of either the colonialist French or the bomb-throwing rebels, Pontecorvo weaves a morally complex, dramatically riveting tapestry that presents a balanced yet passionate view of revolution.


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.


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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