Lists are great. They inspire discussion, create arguments, and tend to spiral off into fun new lists. When you do a list about the “BEST” of anything it goes from being fun to becoming a hotbed for arguments. There’s no such thing as a definitive list but I’ve decided to pull from my rather extensive life of film watching and put it to good use.
This is not the “film critic’s top 100” list. There’s no guarantee Citizen Kane or The Bicycle Thief will be in the top echelon or even on the list. This is the 100 movies I would put my name on as my top 100. If I died tomorrow this would represent the 100 films I find most vital, special, or ones that bonded to whatever it is that makes me me. I’m not including documentaries, though that might make for a nice supplemental list.
The first 80 will be in no particular order. The last 20 will be in very particular order. One a day, you have my word.
#66 – Pan’s Labyrinth
Why is it here:
The Devil’s Backbone is amazing but Pan’s Labyrinth is transcendent. A beautiful, lyrical, terrifying, and beautiful fairy tale from the mind of one of the truly visionary filmmakers out there. Guillermo del Toro. It’s a film that has no problem embracing the fear and joy and imagination of a child and the balance of awe and true danger that permeates every frame. It’s the culmination of all of his extensive research and lifetime of fandom, the perfect display of the filmmaker’s creative marriage to DP Guillermo Navarro, and that rare foreign language film that not only connected financially but also pulled in some rather hefty awards. It’s one that will live forever. A time capsule movie. Not an easy watch, but a breathtaking one.
Moments to savor:
Obviously the Pale Man sequence. The mandrake. The most painful violence. Watching a young girl’s eyes opened to a new world. That damn toad. Captain Vidal doesn’t enjoy bladed instruments.
Sporadically. It’s amazing and visionary but its tone demands time pass between viewings.
This process of making this film almost killed Guillermo. In the “suffering for your art” category this is one near the top.