Pan's Labyrinth (2006) (Spain)

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Pan's Labyrinth (2006) (Spain)

Postby trevor826 » Fri Dec 01, 2006 11:11 am

Pan's Labyrinth (2006) El Laberinto del Fauno

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

Starring Ivana Baquero, Sergi Lpez, Maribel Verd

With an atmosphere and indeed a subject matter very much akin to his earlier The Devils Backbone, Pan's Labyrinth has the feel of being almost a sister piece to the former.

Whereas The Devils Backbone dealt with the final days of the Spanish civil war, this film transports us towards the end of WWII, 1944 to be precise around the time of D-Day.

Despite Francos fascist state winning the civil war, resistance still continues albeit on a much smaller scale. Brutal squads of civil guards were formed to completely eliminate all opposition and in the case of this story are lead by the ruthless sadistic Captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez).

The hero of this tale is a 12 year old girl Ofelia, consummately played by Ivana Baquero, unfortunately for Ofelia, her mother is pregnant by and married to Captain Vidal. He is obsessed with bearing a son to carry on the family name and doesnt care at all about Ofelia. She and we the viewers are taken on a trip between a very cruel and barbaric reality and a fantasy, which can also be just as nasty and dangerous.

This fantasy / reality crossover cannot help but bring to mind tales such as Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz but del Toros world is far removed visually from either of these. Drawing upon characters from mythology and fairy tales, the characters have a style more reminiscent of those you would find in a Clive Barker tale or film.

A multi layered tale, Pans Labyrinth can be read in several ways, you can if you wish to, take it completely at face value, taking the mythical, magical and monstrous as another form of reality that is only accessible to those who truly believe. On the other hand, you can accept it as the escapist fantasies and illusions of a young girl with a fertile imagination as she tries to cope with a very unpleasant reality.

Digging deeper into the mythos, you can draw parallels between the creatures encountered and Francos Spain, the Government and the Catholic Church in particular are represented through Ofelias travails, the finale of the tale itself is open to interpretation but can be seen as Spain finally breaking free of the stranglehold of the fascist state.

So you have an imaginative fantasy, an allegory, or a cruel tale of the evil that men do, whichever way you take it, its an incredible piece of work.

Thankfully there is very little in the way of CGI, relying far more on old style effects which work beautifully, this wonderful film opens in the US in December and is thoroughly recommended.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Pan's Labyrinth (2006) (Spain)

Postby arsaib4 » Sat Dec 02, 2006 7:04 am

Good review, Trevor. I admire Guillermo del Toro quite a bit and I'm looking forward to this film.

Re: Pan's Labyrinth (2006) (Spain)

Postby trevor826 » Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:25 am

Thanks arsaib4, I was going to write far more till I realised the film doesn't get released in the US till the end of December.

If there is anything to complain about, it's simply that the film could have been a bit longer with more time spent in the fantastical realm.

UK official website - Pan's Labyrinth

Cheers Trev.

Re: Pan's Labyrinth (2006) (Spain)

Postby trevor826 » Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:22 am

Has anyone else seen it yet?

I was surprised that it was voted in at number eight by viewers in the BBC's Film 2006 top 10 of the year poll, mind you I was even more surprised that "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" was voted number two. Bond was number one b.t.w.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Pan's Labyrinth (2006) (Spain)

Postby justindeimen » Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:27 am

It was phenomenal. It really was. It's not the typical fantasy film that marketing would have you believe, but very much in the same vein as The Devil's Backbone. It's profoundly sad at times and absolutely horrific in others. I think this will go down as Del Toro's opus for a long time to come.

Re: Pan's Labyrinth (2006) (Spain)

Postby hengcs » Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:29 am

it is opening in Singapore this week or next
definitely on my to watch list

oh no ......................................................................
latest news ...
THE DITRIBUTOR (NOT the censor board) has decided to feature the NC16 version (becos of teenagers box office?!)

sigh sigh sigh
what shld i do?
skip the film?!

hey justin, which version did you catch?
if it is the NC16 ... is it still "watchable"?!

Re: Pan's Labyrinth (2006) (Spain)

Postby justindeimen » Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:21 am

It presumably wasn't cut when I saw in California. I can think of the scenes that were cut, and for teens these days I think it's pretty mild.

Re: Pan's Labyrinth (2006) (Spain)

Postby bamboomedia1 » Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:00 am

I am looking forward to this one. It is going to be released in my state on Jan. 19th. I really hope I won't be watching a cut down version because that would really piss me off. I posted a link to an interview with the director of this film in the Directors forum. I read an article by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) discussing this movie and I thought it was pretty cool. It's another look into what del Toro's director friends are saying about his effort here. Here is the link if you might want to read it.

Re: Pan's Labyrinth (2006) (Spain)

Postby trevor826 » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:20 am

Thank's for the link, I can only hope that nobody becomes over-hyped about the film. I was lucky in that apart from the odd trailer, I knew next to nothing about Pan's Labyrinth. It is a "must see" in my book though and definitely one to be viewed on the big screen.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Pan's Labyrinth (2006) (Spain)

Postby A » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:42 pm

Hmm, Darabont`s writing actually piqued my interest. Before that I would have passed the film, as I haven`t seen anything by Del Toro yet, and he`s not a director I `m interested in.
I think the "old-fashioned, no MTV stuff" line convinced me.
I`ll lkeep an eye out for it.

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