This disturbing fairytale double feature curated by Guillermo del Toro begins with the director's PAN’S LABYRINTH, about a young girl drawn into a fantasy world in 1940s Franco controlled Spain. Then, Charles Laughton's THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, in which sociopath preacher Robert Mitchum hunts the children of a woman he murdered.
EL LABERINTO DEL FAUNO
2006, Warner Bros., 118 min, Spain/Mexico/USA, Dir: Guillermo del Toro
In 1944, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) arrives at the home of her new stepfather, a brutal Spanish army captain (Sergi López). While skirmishes between Franco’s forces and republican rebels rage in the surrounding countryside, Ofelia is drawn to an ancient maze, where a mysterious creature assigns her three tasks. As dazzling as its Oscar-winning art direction, cinematography and makeup are, what makes this multilayered fairy tale one of the greatest films of the new millennium is the masterful way it pushes viewers’ emotional buttons, evoking wonder, fear and relief at all the right moments.
THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER
1955, Park Circus/MGM, 93 min, USA, Dir: Charles Laughton
Robert Mitchum is astonishing as a sociopathic wandering preacher who uses his fire-and-brimstone fundamentalism to mask his schemes to blithely rob and murder gullible yokels — and puritanical Shelley Winters, left alone with her son and daughter and a stash of cleverly hidden loot, is a perfect target. Lillian Gish is rock-solid as the elderly matron who shelters the children when they flee from the homicidal Mitchum. Charles Laughton’s simultaneous debut and swan song as a film director.
Screening format: DCP