2006 best-ofs: best documentary, best foreign-language film, best animated feature

People who love films tend to love all kinds of films, but there are those with more specific tastes. Whether you’re looking for based-on-fact newsiness, the high-flying spiritedness of animated movies, or the challenge foreign-language films in which the underlying cultural rules that form the story space may be alien to your experience, there were some fantastic choices for you in 2006.
Best Documentary

1. An Inconvenient Truth: We talk about important films, but this one’s consciousness-raising just might actually help save the world.

2. Deliver Us from Evil: A portrait in the banality of evil, and the hypocrisies that enable it.

3. Jesus Camp: A terrifying look inside a subculture that’s desperately trying to become the culture.

4. This Film Is Not Yet Rated: Everything that’s wrong with The Movies today gets convincingly reduced to one big issue, the MPAA.

5. The Ground Truth: Untold stories from the Iraq war — this is the stuff we should be seeing on the news, and aren’t.

Best Foreign-Language Film

1. The Science of Sleep: Multilingual confusion — the film is in French, Spanish, and English — lends another layer of pleasant chaos to its romantic reverie.

2. Water: Beautiful tale of the ugly reality facing widows in traditional society in India. Fundamentalist Hindus actually rioted over this film.

3. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days: The heartbreaking and enraging story of a hero of German resistance tio Hitler’s insanity during WWII.

4. Joyeux Noel: Devastating tale what happens when the soldiers who’ve been brainwashing into hating an enemy come to recognize that foe’s humanity.

5. Pan’s Labyrinth: This new fairy tale for a new age brings Old World elements up to the moment.

Best Animated Feature

1. Happy Feet: A gorgeous story told not merely to entertain but to enlighten, this film brings new urgency to what had been a lighthearted medium.

2. Flushed Away: Finally! Someone does toilet humor right.

3. Open Season: Its imaginatively stylized look recognizes the cut-and-paste influence of South Park but refines it, smoothing away the rough edges into a toony elegance.

4. A Scanner Darkly: The off-kilter rotoscoping technique perfectly captures the altered state of mind of the Philip Dick novel the film springs from.

5. Monster House: Clever, witty, and pretty darn scary, too — this is old-fashioned family fun.

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