Set during the Spanish Civil War, this deliciously gothic film from Spain follows the survivors and the ghosts of an orphanage that was established as a headquarters of the Communist resistance and has become a hiding place haunted by imminent doom. Director Guillermo del Toro elicits incredible performances from the children and adults of the film, and the tender and fearful moments that result surpass the best ones reached in films by better known Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, who is credited as one of this film's presenters. Marisa Paredes (All About My Mother) is particularly kick-ass as Carmen, but none of the actors challenge the viewer's involvement for a moment, and neither does the cinematography. The violence is remarkably subtle and budgeted, although one particularly explosive scene blows the mind no matter how many Diehards you've seen. Yet another example that a great film experience requires you to deal with the subtitles, gringo; Vale la peña. In Spanish.
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Marisa Paredes