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Monday, 15 August 2011

Movie Monday: Pan's Labyrinth

For Still Dark's very first Movie Monday, I wanted to do an outfit inspired by my favourite movie, Pan's Labyrinth. Sadly I didn't get chance to do so, work was pretty full-on today and yesterday I was of course 'busy' shopping. :-(

So instead, we have a review.

I first watched Pan's Labyrinth with my mum when I was fifteen or sixteen. Yes it's in Spanish, but being a quick reader I have never minded subtitles. I'm glad I braved it, as to say that I am obsessed with this movie would be a mild understatement. If you like your faeries scary, this is the Monday night movie for you.

Source: Google
Against the bloody backdrop of World War II, our young heroine Ofelia finds herself escaping the increasingly dire circumstances of her home life, where her mother is carrying the child of a brutal, deranged captain in the army of fascist Spain, by stumbling into the dark and equally dangerous world beyond Pan's Labyrinth. Pan, the faun (although if you're thinking a cute and cuddly Mr. Tumnus think again), reveals himself to Ofelia when she follows a faerie to the heart of his maze, and tells her that she may be the reincarnation of a faerie princess. Ofelia has to carry out three tasks to prove her birthright and re-enter her own realm.

It may sound like a fairy tale, but it beats the Brothers Grimm hands down for some dark, disturbing and downright scary moments. It's hard to decide whether the 'real world' (where Ofelia's kind nanny is secretly helping rebel forces, her mother's pregnancy is suffering complications, and her relationship with her 'new father', the Captain, is not exactly flourishing) or the faerie world, which boasts some genuinely frightening dangers (yes, I had nightmares about the child-eating... thing) and where Pan's true intentions are not always clear, could be more dangerous.

Throughout the movie it is never made clear whether Pan and his world are the imaginary creations of a frightened, suffering child, invented to cope with the increasingly nightmarish reality she is facing, or whether they are as real as day.

There are some scenes of torture and some bloody violence, but I found that these were not half as unsettling as the underlying sense of supernatural menace that accompanies Pan and his fellow fae. For me, the faerie realm and its creatures were what made the movie so breathtaking and what has kept it at the top of my top-ten for several years. It helps that this is also a visually stunning movie - with a twist in the tail.

This is a Wonderland-esque fable for adults, and though it is in places gory and miserable, there is something unrelentingly enchanting and magical about it. A must-see for the discerning Goth.

15 comments:

Sara said...

One of my favourites, truely beautiful and original.

akumaxkami said...

This was definitely a great movie. I loved seeing a Spanish movie that held so true to Faerie and Celtic lore.

I adore the director as well, he's a brilliant guy, who also directed Hellboy 1 & 2. If anyone's a Hellboy fan, the guy who plays Abe (the fish dude) also plays Pan, even though the guy can't understand a word of Spanish. ^_^

Sal Kaye said...

I love Pan's Labyrinth, too. Although I can't say if I watched it in English or German, I simply don't remember. Not Spanish, though.

Thank you, Amy, for reviewing this great movie and being part of Movie Monday!

Unlacing the Victorians said...

Beautifully written review that explains the magic of Pan's Labyrinth without giving away any major plot developments. I enjoyed reading this tremendously.

Serendibite said...

Apparently next year in my Spanish class we might watch this. I can't wait now!

Traicetrak said...

So glad you did this review. I've been in a fantasy mood lately, catching up on a lot of titles I've missed or long forgotten. This one keeps coming up in my suggestions, but I was uncertain of whether I should watch it at this time. I think I shall! =)

Phells said...

I love Pan's Labyrinth. I even learned how to play the theme on the piano. =P I only speak minimal Spanish but I can't imagine watching the movie in any other language.

Andrés Ortega said...

It´s a great movie / Es una gran película.

Mike Piasta said...

Pan's Labyrinth is easily one of my favourite movies. When it came out in theaters I hadn't really heard anything about it and just decided to see it based on the director.

After seeing it that first time I was hooked, went back to watch it a few more times while it was still in theaters and then when one of my friends picked it up on HD-DVD (Wow, that was awhile ago)

I think I'm actually going to have to go watch this now.

The Fool said...

This movie.

It's all I can say.

It's beautiful and dark and everything I would want out of a good movie! .. It's been too long since I last saw it... Now I know what to watch tonight!

BallerinaDark said...

I L-O-V-E this movie!! :) I remember I made a post about this movie too in Gothic Divine Magazine :) It's a true artwork!! ♥

Sakara said...

I love Del Toro movies, he always brings a dark aesthetic to the films. he also understands that the fae world isn't a pretty pink and fluffy one. Fae were always seen as something you wouldnt want to mess with.
Pan's Labyrinth is an amazing piece of work, and yeah i admit i cried at the end..hoping the fae world really was real for her.

Anonymous said...

Pan's Labyrinth has always been my favourite movie.I love their interpretation of fairies and the historical context is also interesting

InfiltratorN7 said...

Pan's Labyrinth is an amazing film. I'm really going to have to watch it again. That child eating monster was so genuinely creepy. I do enjoy Guillermo del Toro films a lot from his horror like The Devil's Backbone, Cronos and The Orphanage through to his more superhero stuff like the Hellboy films (how spectacular does the second one look in style?!).

InfiltratorN7 said...

I forgot to add, I also love how Pan's Labyrinth is left open to interpretation with what happened with the ending and even throughout the film. Whether it was real or Ofelia coping with the grim reality through her imagination.

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