September 22, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's LabyrinthWow. Pan's Labyrinth is not what I was expecting. I was thinking some magical fairy tale where a young boy or girl has to overcome personal adversity and go on a journey of self-exploration and wonder, with some nice ending when the quest is accomplished. But that's not what this is. There is magic and personal adversity and a journey of self-exploration and wonder, but it ends with a cruelty that surprised me. It may not surprise you if you come into this film with different expectations. It probably won't shock you, because there is a significant level of cruelty and disillusionment throughout the film.

That is actually part of why this film is a masterpiece. This fantastical tale is not for children. There are two plots running parallel, with the little girl Ofelia trapped between them. On one side, a cruel and vicious captain commands a military occupation while hunting rebels in the woods. This captain is the new step-father of Ofelia, but there is no love between them, and his presence is as a poison to Ofelia and her mother. On the other side is Ofelia's quest to reclaim her crown as princess of the underworld. She must acquire treasures at great personal risk and with great bravery, in order to do so and escape from her unfortunate circumstance. This dichotomy drives everything forward, and produces such a wonderful contrast between hope and despair, innocence and sin.

Posted by josuah at September 22, 2007 5:29 PM UTC+00:00

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