Anders Bergstrom's blog on Words, Films, and Music

Monday, January 29, 2007


2006 ended up being a good year for films. It seems that the good films continually get pushed back until the very end of the year, and many don't open in Saskatoon until after the new year has started (e.g. Pan's Labyrinth, Letters from Iwo Jima). With that in mind, this list is the best of what I've seen over the past year of films that had their theatrical release listed as 2006 in North America. That means that it is limted to films that played in Saskatoon or Victoria, and that I got around to seeing.

It was a year for originality. Last year we saw some really good franchise films, but this year only one franchise film made my list (and it is a fairly radical revisioning of the franchise at that). A couple of franchise films -- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Mission: Impossible 3 -- almost made the list, but I'm going to give honourable mention here for improving on the films that came before them and offering some of the best thrills of the summer. Other franchise films left me cold -- or seething: Superman Returns failed to impress and X-Men: The Last Stand made me glad to see the franchise end.

That said, my top ten this year is dominated by original films, adaptations, and personal projects that all were the best film going experiences of the year. With the intro out of the way, here's number ten.

10. El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth)

Dir. Guillermo del Toro
112 min; R

Del Toro presents here a fairy tale for grown ups: a dark moral fable set during the Spanish Civil War, in which a young girl (Ofelia) faces the challenges of a faerie world and the horrors of fascist Spain. Del Toro is best known for his imaginative horror/fantasy comic book films (Hellboy, Blade II) which I love, but here he creates a moving and challenging film that dazzled me with its creative vision and moved me with its compelling characters. Pan's Labyrinth only made it to Saskatoon in the last week of January, so I only recently saw it, but it stands up with the best films of 2006 and was justly rewarded with six Oscar nominations as well. Definitely worth catching, though not for children.

1 comment:

Lucca said...

Hey sorry I missed your call this evening . I stayed a school till 12 to paint. I think i'll have some time tommorow night if you'd like to see Volver.