Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

I watched Pan's Labyrinth the other night, and I was pleasantly surprised. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I shouldn't have been surprised at anything. I read about the movie as they were making it, and I knew what it was about, yet it was somehow unexpected. There were parts that were, maybe unnecessarily, a little violent. I think Guillermo Del Toro might have been trying to get across how brutal Post-Civil War Spain was, or at least how brutal Capitan Vidal was. Pan's Labyrinth tells the story of Ofelia, an 11-year old girl in 1940s Spain. Her father died when she was little, and her mother has recently married a Captain in the Spanish Army, who has been assigned to put down a local rebellion. The Captain is tough with his soldiers and tough with Ofelia. Her only escape is the books of fairy tales she brought with her to her new home. Shortly after arriving, Ofelia is approached by what looks like a large praying mantis-like creature of obvious intelligence. She soon realizes that it is a fairy just like from her stories and it wants her to follow it. She follows it to a maze in the garden, at the center of which she meets a faun. He tells Ofelia that she is really the reincarnation of a princess of a magical kingdom, whose entrance lies in the center of the labyrinth. Her real father, the king, has been awaiting her return for centuries. However, in order to open the gate, she needs to complete three tasks before the full moon, just days away. Feeling that there may be some truth to the faun's story and knowing she would rather be anywhere than with Capitan Vidal, she agrees to do the tasks. In the meantime, the housekeeper, Mercedes, while appearing to be the perfect invisible servant, is helping out her brother, one of the rebels in the woods. Pan's Labyrinth is at once a tender coming of age story, a brutal family drama, a fantastic fairy tale and a political action thriller. I don't know that I would have nominated it for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, but maybe for Best Original Screenplay. It was nominated for both, but didn't win either. It was one of the most original movies I've seen in quite some time. Definitely worth the price of admission. I highly recommend it.

1 comment:

somd said...

Marisa said the same thing about the violence (a little surprising and maybe a bit too much), but she also recommended it. I was intrigued hearing about it, so I still want to see it.