Episode 105: The Devil's Backbone (2001)

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The guys head to a secluded Spanish wartime orphanage for this week's podcast on Guillermo Del Toro's 2001 film, The Devil's Backbone. The film is somewhat of a spiritual predecessor to the highly revered Pan's Labyrinth a few years later, so much of the Bit Players' discussion is spent on comparing the two films, while trying not to let the perfection of Pan's Labyrinth bring down their perception of the older work. They do have a lot in common, however: the Civil War backdrop to a fantastical story (in this case a ghost named Santi, played by Junio Valverde, rather than woodland creatures), an oppressive and frightening world in which Del Toro's child characters must find solace, and a rotten-to-the-core villain in Eduardo Noriega's Jacinto. The most striking differences are visual — The Devil's Backbone's desert landscapes and surrounding emptiness provide a sense of isolation that runs counter to the promise of a world beneath the woods in Pan's Labyrinth — and in character development — the orphanage caretakers Carmen (Marisa Paredes) and Dr. Casares (Federico Luppi) provide a sense of warmth and caring that could easily be absent in a ghost story such as this. The guys talk about all this and more, including the film's interest in the theme of these lost children like Carlos (Fernando Tielve) and Jaime (Íñigo Garcés), left to live their lives in war without the parents taken by it as another real-life representation of Del Toro's concept of ghosts, doomed suspended in their death state forever.

Featuring "Yo No Se Que Me Han Hecho Tus Ojos" by Carlos Gardel

03:05 Number-Crunching 14:47 The Devil's Backbone Introduction 16:29 A Ghost Story & Comparisons to Pan's Labyrinth 21:05 Favorite Characters & The Making a Jacinto's Villainry 28:30 "The Devil's Backbone" 30:00 Guillermo Del Toro's Fascination with the Supernatural Interacting with the Real World 39:05 The Subtle Use of Violence in Del Toro Films 44:00 Unpacking the Film's Visual Metaphors 47:41 Clark's Corner: Recast, Netflix Search Query, Genre Game, Porno Version, Most of the Budget Went To.... 1:01:40 Ratings

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