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Pan's Labyrinth

A Spanish film (subtitled), set during the Spanish Civil War. The story cleverly flips between the activities of both sides during the conflict, whilst also telling the tale of the encounters between a young girl who still firmly believes in fairy stories and "The Faun" - a strange animal that appears as half-tree, half-goat (it's probably not, but that's how it appears to me), discovered in a labyrinth near her makeshift home. With all the death and destruction running through the film, you wonder if it's only the girl's belief in fairy tales that keeps her going.

It's another one of those. It's good and enjoyable, but it's not "nice". The director has not held back from showing the unpleasantness of war (on both sides), nor is the outcome pleasant, but there's plenty in there to keep you going and the running time (about two hours) did not make it feel like an epic.

This has been touted by many as the film of the year. Is it? Well, it's certainly well made and tells a great story, but this is where I'm not sure. It all comes down to what sort of film you like. At the moment, I'm still feeling that Children of Men is the best so far this year, but this one comes mighty close. It's well put together - you won't be punished for faltering concentration on the subtitles. It's definitely one to go and see.

Filmfour link: (*clicky*)
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