Back in the 1940s and 1950s,
Fast forward. It’s 2006 and the highest grossing film of the year is Pirates of the
It should come as no surprise, then, that my pick for the three most inventive, brave and original films of 2006 were made in a foreign country: Pedro Almodóvar’s “Volver”, Michael Haneke’s “Caché” and Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth”.
“Pan’s Labyrinth”, the epic fantasy by Guillermo del Toro, released in December 2006, received rave reviews across the country. Arriving to our screens just in time to top many Best-Of 2006 lists, this film has been nicknamed the Citizen Kane of our time by some enthusiastic reviewers. Set in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, “Pan’s Labyrinth” is a visually and emotionally stunning film chronicling a young girl’s escapism from the cruelty of her world into a dreamland populated by fauns, fairies and monsters. Ivana Baquero plays the part of Ofelia, a young girl who moves to live with her new stepfather along with her heavily pregnant mother, with a maturity and naturalism far beyond her years and we warm to her from the very start, willing her on in her dangerous and frightening journey.
Probably best known for his 2004 comic book adaptation “Hellboy”, the Mexican director manages to evenly match the two aspects of his film – the harsh reality of the fascists running
Made in 2005 but released in
Finally, we reach my pick for the Best Film of 2006, Pedro Almodóvar’s “Volver”. A quick scan over the box office top 10 of 2006 reveals the loss of pure, passionate film-making. Almodóvar sets out to rectify this, crafting a film full of colour and life, a visual love-letter to all the women who have inspired him (most notably Penelope Cruz) and his home country of
It’s a shame that foreign films appear to have a limited appeal. Do we really want to bombard our senses with poorly made star-vehicles and unnecessary remakes? While none of these films are obscure (all three directors are big names and Del Toro has made his fair share of
So, in 2007, with a whole new set of films lined up for the coming year, lets broaden our horizons and look beyong Tinseltown.
You never know what you might see…