segunda-feira, 22 de janeiro de 2007


This month the National Society of Film Critics picked its winners for 2006 — one of the last such bodies to do so. (The Iowa and Central Ohio critics would weigh in a few days later.) The announcement of the Society’s awards followed a month of frenzied balloting by various Circles and Associations in New York, Los Angeles and just about every city, state and region in between, an annual festival of critical self-assertion — a protest against irrelevance, perhaps — before the big Oscar show on Feb. 25.

The society’s vote stands out a bit amid all this welter because its top three choices for best picture of the year were all movies in languages other than English. The third-place finisher was Clint Eastwood’s “Letters From Iwo Jima,” which is in Japanese; the runner-up was “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu,” a Romanian film directed by Cristi Puiu; and the winner, by a narrow margin, was “Pan’s Labyrinth,” Guillermo del Toro’s tale of magic and malevolence in 1940s Spain.

The honors bestowed on those three movies, not only by the National Society of Film Critics, might be taken as evidence that foreign films are flourishing. So might the memory of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” which made more than $125 million here in 2001. And the proliferating Web sites and blogs devoted to...


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