The Devil's Backbone (2001)

The Devil's Backbone (Spanish: El espinazo del diablo, literally The Backbone of the Devil) is a 2001 Spanish-Mexican gothic horror film directed by Guillermo del Toro, and written by del Toro, Antonio Trashorras and David Muñoz. It was independently produced by Pedro Almodóvar, and filmed in Madrid.

The film is set in Spain, 1939, during the final year of the Spanish Civil War. In the DVD commentary, del Toro stated that, along with Hellboy, this was his most personal project, and described it as his favorite along with Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy II.

Plot: Casares (Federico Luppi) and Carmen (Marisa Paredes) operate a small home for orphans in a remote part of Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Helping the couple mind the orphanage are Jacinto (Eduardo Noriega), the groundskeeper, and Conchita (Irene Visedo), a teacher who is also involved with Jacinto. Casares and Carmen are aligned with the Republican loyalists, and are hiding a large cache of gold that's used to back the Republican treasury; perhaps not coincidentally, the orphanage has also been subject to attacks from Franco's troops, and an unexploded bomb waits to be defused in the home's courtyard. One day, a boy named Carlos (Fernando Tielve) arrives at the home, looking for a place to stay after being left behind by his parents. Casares and Carmen take him in, and the boy soon strikes up an unlikely friendship with Jaime (Inigo Garces), a boy with a reputation for tormenting other kids. But Carlos soon begins having visions of a mysterious apparition he can't identify, and hears strange stories about a child named Santi who went missing the day the bomb appeared near the orphanage. Mark Deming, Rovi - Rotten Tomatoes

Location: Spain, Mexico
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Producer: Guillermo del Toro
Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Antonio Trashorras, David Muñoz
Cast: Fernando Tielve, Íñigo Garcés, Eduardo Noriega, Marisa Paredes, Federico Luppi

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