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The Orphanage

The Orphanage (Spanish: El orfanato) is a 2007 gothic supernatural horror film and the debut feature of J. A. Bayona. The film stars Belén Rueda as Laura, Fernando Cayo as her husband, Carlos, and Roger Príncep as their adopted son Simón. The plot centers on Laura, who returns to her childhood home, an orphanage. Laura plans to turn the house into a home for disabled children, but after an argument with Simón, he goes missing.

The Orphanage

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In Spain, a young girl named Laura García Rodríguez is adopted from an orphanage. 30 years later, adult Laura returns to the closed orphanage, accompanied by her husband, Carlos Sánchez Rivera, and their seven-year-old son, Simón. She plans to reopen the orphanage as a facility for disabled children. Simón claims to have befriended a boy named Tomás, and draws pictures of him as a child wearing a sack mask. Social worker Benigna Escobedo visits the house to inquire after Simón, and it is revealed that Laura and Carlos adopted Simón and that he is HIV positive. Incensed at Benigna's intrusion, Laura asks her to leave. Later that night, Laura finds Benigna in the orphanage's coal shed, but Benigna flees the scene. Later, Simón teaches Laura a game which grants its winner a wish. Clues lead the two to Simón's adoption file. Simón becomes angry, and says that his new friend told him that Laura is not his biological mother and that he is going to die soon.

During a party for the orphanage's opening, Laura and Simón argue, and Simón hides from her after she slaps him across the face in a fit of frustration, which she immediately regrets. While looking for him, she encounters a child wearing a sack mask who shoves her into a bathroom and locks her inside. When Laura escapes, she realizes that Simón is missing and is unable to find him. That night, Laura hears several loud crashes within the walls of the orphanage. Police psychologist Pilar suggests to Laura and Carlos that Benigna may have abducted Simón.

Six months later, Simón is still missing. While searching for him, Laura spots Benigna, who is then struck and killed by an ambulance. The police find evidence that Benigna worked at the orphanage, and that she had a son named Tomás, who also lived there but was kept hidden due to his facial deformity. A few weeks after Laura was adopted, the orphans stole the mask that Tomás wore to conceal his deformed face. Embarrassed, Tomás refused to leave his hiding place in a nearby sea cave, and the rising tide drowned him.

Laura asks for the assistance of a medium named Aurora in the search for Simón. Aurora conducts a seance during which she claims to see the ghosts of the orphans crying for help. Laura discovers the remains of the orphans she grew up with in the orphanage. Benigna poisoned their meals and killed them for having caused Tomás's death and hid their remains in the orphanage's coal shed.[5] Unable to cope with the situation, Carlos leaves the orphanage.

Laura makes the orphanage look as it did thirty years ago and attempts to contact the children's spirits by playing one of their old games. The spirits lead her to the door of a hidden underground room. Inside is Simón's corpse, wearing Tomás's mask. Laura finally realizes what happened: while searching for Simón the night he disappeared, Laura moved pieces of construction scaffolding, blocking the entrance to the secret room. The crashes that night were caused by Simón trying to get out. He fell and fatally broke his neck.

Bayona cut parts of the script, including the outcome of the other orphanage children, because he wanted to focus on the character of Laura and what happens to her.[13] To create the film as he wanted, Bayona had to double both the film's budget and the amount of filming time.[14] To accomplish this, Bayona received help from fellow film director Guillermo del Toro, whom he had met at Festival de Cine de Sitges when del Toro was presenting his film Cronos (1993).[14] Del Toro offered to co-produce the film as soon as he learned about it.[14] For the rest of his crew, Bayona worked with his regular team that he worked with on commercials and music videos.[15]

Production on The Orphanage began on May 15, 2006 in Llanes, Asturias.[14] This location was chosen due to the area's diverse natural settings that include beaches, caves, cliffs, forests, a small village, and the Partarríu Manor where the orphanage scenes take place.[14] The orphanage was an old colonial house from the end of the nineteenth century.[14] Bayona wanted to use certain cinematographic techniques that were impossible to achieve in the house, so several parts of the house were reconstructed in sound stages.[14] After four weeks in Llanes, the team moved to Barcelona to finish up the last ten weeks of filming in sound stages, making over 80% of the film there.[14] Bayona showed the films La residencia and The Innocents to his director of photography on the film, to make special notice of the Scope lensing used in both films.[5]

The movie centers on Laura (Belen Rueda), who as a young girl was raised in the orphanage before being taken away one day and adopted. Now in her 30s, she has returned with her husband Carlos (Fernando Cayo) and their young son Simon (Roger Princep) to buy the orphanage and run it as a home for sick or disabled children. She has memories here, most of them happy, she believes, but as images begin to swim into her mind and even her vision, she has horrifying notions about what might have happened to the playmates she left behind on the summer day 30 years ago.

It matters not for us, because we are inside Laura's mind, no matter what. And when a decidedly sinister "social worker" (Montserrat Carulla) turns up, Simon learns after her visit that he is adopted and dying. He apparently runs away, even though he needs daily medication. His parents spend months searching for him, putting posters everywhere, convinced he is not dead. But many children may have died at the orphanage. The parents consult a psychic (Geraldine Chaplin), who possibly provides what people claim they want from a psychic (but really don't): the truth.

Moira Waterfall was 29 years old when she took a trekking vacation in Nepal. Instead of being placed through a voluntourism travel agency, she said she heard about an orphanage called Happy Home from some fellow hikers.

Waterfall decided to teach English at the orphanage under the supervision of the owner, Bishwa Archarya. She says she fell in love with the kids there, and so she made her own fundraising website to help Happy Home raise money from outside donors back in the U.S.

According to Howe, orphanages in Nepal can get thousands of dollars in donations from foreigners, but they need children to get the money. So some orphanage owners will send agents into rural villages to convince poor parents to send their children to the city.

That is what Next Generation Nepal said happened to three young siblings, Sushila, Rushila and Sudip, from a small village three hours outside Kathmandu. The organization said the three children were rescued from a neglectful orphanage called Hamro Ghar in a raid that was broadcast on local television.

Making matters worse was the devastating earthquake the struck last year, killing 8,000 people and displacing countless more, creating more chaos that human rights groups warn could lead to more orphanage trafficking.

How often does a horror film provide hair rising scares along with a nail bitingly suspenseful and believable story? Even though I am a novice when it comes to the number of horror films watched, I can say with certain amount of confidence that such a brilliant combination of two of the most difficult genres to tackle is indeed a very rare breed. The orphanage is classic in its way of making, in its way of shocking and in its story line which paves the way for it to be deservedly called a modern horror masterpiece. This film is as perfect and as heady a mix of both these incredibly potent genres can ever get. 041b061a72


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