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The devil's backbone

Almodóvar, Agustin
El espinazo del diablo (original title)

The most personal film by Guillermo del Toro is also among his most frightening and emotionally layered. Set during the final week of the Spanish Civil War, the tale of a ten-year-old boy who, after his freedom-fighting father is killed, is sent to a haunted rural orphanage full of terrible secrets. Del Toro effectively combines gothic ghost story, murder mystery, and historical melodrama in a stylish concoction that reminds us that the scariest monsters are often the human ones.

Rating: R; for violence, language and some sexuality.

Agustín and Pedro Almodóvar present ; a production of El Deseo, Tequila Gang ; with the participation of Sogepaq, Canal+ España and Anhelo Producciones ; written by Guillermo del Toro, Antonio Trashorras, David Muñoz ; executive producers, Agustín Almodóvar, Bertha Navarro ; director, Guillermo del Toro ; producer, Pedro Almodóvar.

Originally released as a motion picture in 2001.

Special features: Disc 1: Guillermo del Toro introduction; Commentary featuring writer-director Guillermo del Toro; Trailer. Disc 2: Summoning spirits (interview with Guillermo del Toro); ¿Que es un fantasma? (2004 making-of documentary); Spanish gothic (2010 interview with writer-director Guillermo del Toro conducted by Javier Soto); Director's notebook (interactive gallery includes preparatory drawings and concepts); Designing The devil's backbone (interview with the filmmaker about the initial designs and prosthetics for the characters, effects, and art direction); Deleted scenes; Sketch, storyboard, screen (compares del Toro's thumbnail sketches and Carlos Giménez's storyboards with the final film); A war of values (new interview with Sebastiaan Faber about the film's depiction of the Spanish Civil War). Insert includes an essay by critic Mark Kermode.

Marisa Paredes, Eduardo Noriega, Federico Luppi, Fernando Tielve, Íñigo Garcés, Irene Visedo, José Manuel Lorenzo, Paco Maestre.

DVD, NTSC, region 1, widescreen (16:9, 1.85:1) presentation; Dolby digital 5.1.

Spanish dialogue; English subtitles.

Costume design, José Vico ; editor, Luis de la Madrid ; production designer, César Macarrón ; music, Javier Navarrete ; director of photography, Guillermo Navarro.
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