Because this blog is dedicated to economics and the law, I don't usually share movie recommendations. However, Director Guillermo del Toro's film, Pan's Labyrinth, is too good for me to keep private.
Mr. del Toro, like other great directors, leaves a unique, identifiable mark on his films. His films are characterized by an authoritarian presence; an idealistic character who rebels against authority and overprotective adults; a reminder of the horrors of armed conflict; and an otherworldly presence whose loyalty is unknown until the end of the film.
Roger Ebert called Pan's Labyrinth a fairy tale for adults. I'd describe it as a grown-up version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Mr. del Toro reminds us to question authority and to listen to the wisdom of children. In this day and age, as we become more and more affluent, it is too easy to forget about the sacrifices our ancestors made to create a more civilized society. Without being heavyhanded, Mr. del Toro shows us the sacrifices we have made--and those we should never make.
Mr. del Toro directed another film, The Devil's Backbone, a darker and less polished film. The Devil's Backbone has similar elements as Pan's Labyrinth and effectively functioned as a warm-up for Pan's Labyrinth. If you want to see three great international films, watch Juan Antonio Bayona's The Orphanage, The Devil's Backbone, and Pan's Labyrinth, in that order.