Pan's Labyrinth (2006) is a Spanish movie. Guillermo del Toro has directed this movie. Ivana Baquero,Ariadna Gil,Sergi López,Maribel Verdú are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2006. Pan's Labyrinth (2006) is considered one of the best Drama,Fantasy,War movie in India and around the world.
In 1944 Falangist Spain, a girl, fascinated with fairy-tales, is sent along with her pregnant mother to live with her new stepfather, a ruthless captain of the Spanish army. During the night, she meets a fairy who takes her to an old faun in the center of the labyrinth. He tells her she's a princess, but must prove her royalty by surviving three gruesome tasks. If she fails, she will never prove herself to be the true princess and will never see her real father, the king, again.
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Pan's Labyrinth (2006) Reviews
I saw the film at FrightFest in London a couple of days ago, and was pretty well sure I'd be seeing something special - but I ended up seeing a film that is downright extraordinary. Brutal but beautiful, magical yet earthy, it has a remarkable cast, with standout performances all round. A special mention must go to Sergi Lopez, whose 'Captain Vidal' is indeed one of the most sadistic film creations ever seen. Yet he manages to make the audience understand why he is the way he is ... an astounding performance. Maribel Verdu's quiet but rebellious housekeeper is one of the strongest female roles I've seen in many a year, and she is supported by a wealth of talent. Young Ivana Baquero is surprisingly self-assured as 12-year-old Ofelia, and I especially liked her almost Alice-like approach to the magical creatures she encounters in the labyrinth. The icing on this warped fairy tale is Doug Jones, who gives a towering performance - and in this case literally, as well as figuratively - as the guardian of the labyrinth, a faun, full of grace and charm and latent menace. Although dubbed, his Spanish is perfect (Jones speaks not a word of the language), and his physical presence is incredibly powerful as his character teases, cajoles and harries Ofelia to fulfil her tasks. He also plays the devastatingly creepy and disgusting 'Pale Man' - a creature that almost equals Vidal in his terrorising habits. But the cast is just one facet of this gloriously photographed film, with Javier Navarrete's hauntingly simple score weaving itself into the fabric of a film perfectly edited and written. The brutality of post-Civil War Spain contrasts with the world of magic to which Ofelia is drawn, yet everywhere she goes she has choices to make. In fact the film is about choices, good and bad, and one discovers that no matter how desperate a situation becomes, a choice is always available - although that choice may mean one's death. The film is violent - very violent, but each moment of brutality, although graphic, has a purpose - nowhere is it gratuitous. I loved it - as I knew I would - and if the Oscar voters don't give this film at least a nod for Best Foreign Language Film next year, then I will know that they have lost any sense of reason or comprehension. Because this film is truly a masterpiece, and Del Toro's greatest work to date.
A fey, beautiful and dark masterpiece
Set during Franco's mopping up exercise after the Spanish Civil War, Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth is a wonderful, dark fairy tale that, in a metaphor for Spain itself, teeters on the edge of nightmare dreamscapes of corruption, violence and the death of innocents. This film is definitely not for young children. Although the fantasy sequences are gorgeously realised, and are fairy tales in the truest sense (in that they are dark, fey, dangerous and violent), most of the story (about three quarters of it, in fact) exists outside of the dreamland, in the even more frightening (and sometimes shockingly violent) world of a real life struggle of ideas and ideology. Sergi Lopez is excellent as the brutal (and possibly sadistic) Falangist Captain tasked with routing out the remaining leftists from the woods and hills of Northern Spain. Into this precarious situation come his new wife (a widow of a former marriage, who is carrying his son) and his stepdaughter Ofelia (played to absolute perfection, by the then 11 year old, Ivana Baquero). Uncomfortable with her new surroundings, suspicious of her stepfather and desperately concerned about the worsening condition of her mother, Ofelia uncovers a strange alternative world, and the chance to escape forever the pain and uncertainty of her everyday life. Thus the film alternates between the world of Civil War Spain and the increasingly bizarre, dark and frightening world of the Pan's Labyrinth. As the twin plots progress, they intertwine, with the tasks of Ofelia becoming the choices faced by a Spain at the crossroads. The poignancy of the film lies partly in the fact that the victories of the child are reflected so starkly by the failures of the adult world. Apparently Pan's Labyrinth won a 20-minute standing ovation at Cannes, when it was shown. This may be a little bit over the top. I suspect when the furore has died down some will choose to swing the pendulum back and criticise it for its more obvious faults. Much of the film is derivative. There are few ideas in the film's magical dreamworld that haven't been seen before. There are also few ideas in the film's depiction of the Civil War that can't be read in Satre or Orwell; can't be viewed in Picasso's Guernica; or can't be watched in Land and Freedom. For all the evident truth of these observations, to accept them would be to entirely miss the majesty of Pan's Labyrinth, which doesn't lie in its originality but its absolute mastery of execution. People will watch Pan's Labyrinth in a way that most won't watch Land and Freedom. In doing so, they will also discover a world of fairy tales which existed before Disney sunk its claws into them: a dangerous world, where nothing is as it seems and every step is a possible death a place which may leave even adults shivering under the duvet, part in terror, part in wonder. And all this backed up by the finest cinematography I've seen. The only real faults I am prepared to allow for this film is a slight tendency (particularly at the end) for a Narnia-like moralism, and the fact that the faun is, perhaps, is not quite wild enough! These are eminently forgivable, though. This is easily the best film I've seen this year, and a must see on the big screen.
This is a movie with a simple and straightforward plot which contains layers and layers of intelligent writing, metaphors and message. To speak further about the script will end up in spoilers and that would be pointless since my very purpose writing this review is to encourage people to see it. This is no small feat, interpreting fantasy as something of a product of a real world, cross-referencing how the child acts to her real surroundings and the "other world", metaphors that describe the accelerated state of growing up some of us are put through... Incredible. Simple, straightforward yet there is so much to be appreciated. Those who are saying how it's predictable and thus not enjoyable, I ask of you, which movie nowadays aren't predictable? Hell, even 21 grams was predictable but so damned good. It's not about how it ends, you can always predict how a movie would end if you've ever taken a half-decent script writing class or have some common sense. It's always about how well you tell a story. I'm grateful there are still directors who aren't tied down to this new epidemic of including a plot twist simply because they need a plot twist. Pan's Labyrinth features some of the best storytelling and attention to detail without being affected by the now ever-popular opinion of cameras having to be put through several technical difficulties to make the shots eligible to be called a brilliant shot. I am also grateful for them not dubbing it. Watching it in its' original language is much, much more rewarding even if I had to rely on the subtitles for most of the time. This is a brilliant movie. Watch it.
In Depth Analysis of Interpretations
Sixth viewing: My appreciation only grows. Interpretations- 1st interpretation: Ophelia's world is real- happy ending. If this interpretation is valid, we deal with themes of war and disobedience. Here, Pan's Labyrinth serves as an allegory against the totalitarian regime of Fascist Spain, symbolized by Vidal. Vidal is represented in the fantasy storyline by the Pale Man; they both sit at the end of the table at the feasts, and they are both violent and cruel. Furthermore, the Pale Man is an allegory to "Saturn Devouring his Son" by Fransisco Goya, as both Cronus and the Pale Man eat the heads off of their victims first. If Cronus represents the Pale Man, and the Pale Man represents Vidal, and Vidal represents Fascist Spain, Del Toro implies that Fascist Spain is just as cruel as Cronus; like how Cronus devours his own sons, Fascist Spain kills their own people. 2nd interpretation: Ophelia's world is her imagination- tragic ending (or is it? Some might say that she was better off dead than having to live with her terrible hardships). If this interpretation is valid, we deal with themes of self-deception and how reality and fantasy can coexist. Here, Pan's Labyrinth explores how Ophelia creates a fantasy for herself to deal with the harsh realities of war. In this case, we can interpret the final fantasy sequence as Ophelia's imagination, her creation and the world she wished to live. Besides, you can tell she is still alive, as Del Toro shows her lips quiver right after the fantasy sequence. Observations- *The film features many smooth cuts, which Del Toro hides with trees and black screens. This could imply how reality and fantasy intertwine, supporting the second interpretation. BUT smooth cuts never go from fantasy to reality or reality to fantasy, only fantasy to fantasy or reality to reality. This could suggest the first interpretation, where reality and fantasy are separate. *Vidal sees the monster under the bed, which supports the 1st interpretation. Yet at the same time, he does not see the faun at the end, which supports the 2nd interpretation. But again, Vidal has just consumed some kind of poison, so it may be his hallucinations in which he does not see the faun. *Del Toro never cuts away from the violence, emphasizing the brutality of war. *Cinematography is magnificent- dark, gloomy, blue colors in reality sequences to depict its dreariness, while bright, vibrant reds and oranges to depict enthusiasm. In the final scenes, the reds of blood and explosions stand out because the blues have become so common with the eye. Del Toro consciously had the blood and explosions to stand out to emphasize the violence of war. *Notice how Del Toro establishes tension between Ophelia and Vidal; When Ophelia shakes with the wrong hand, Vidal points it out, forming an uneasy tone between them. This first encounter between the two main characters in their respective storylines is vital for their relationship in the future scenes, especially the climax. Bottom line is, both interpretations are valid, and Del Toro utilizes both of them to deliver both of their respective themes. As magnificent as this film is, there may be authenticity flaws. For example, why didn't Mercedes kill Vidal after she escaped? Is she still obedient to Vidal? Then why did he directly disobey his order at the end when Vidal asked to tell his son the time of his death? For me, it's clear why Del Toro left these authenticity flaws: to drive the story forward. Attempting to patch these flaws would've been at the expense of pacing, and the audience's engagement is more important than plot holes. After all, these flaws are more or less hidden; visible only to those who know where to look.
The best fantasy of the past decade
Everyone's been raving about this. My opinion doesn't differ too much. It did however suffer slightly from the overwhelmingly high expectations I'd developed based on how brilliant everyone said it was, and the whole "20min ovation at Cannes" thing. Really, who stands for that long? That said, it's an amazing work. Skipping the plot recap (find the briefest synopsis you can if you need to be filled in), I'll go straight to the tech specs. I'm not a huge Del Toro fan, Cronos was interesting but lacked something for me. Mimic was dross. Hellboy was enjoyable and Ron Perlman is always great on screen. But here, the director really outdoes himself. By far. He has wrapped together some amazing elements and somehow maintains a balance, that doesn't tip into the mundane or the ridiculous for a moment. And this is no mean feat. The story is part historical drama, part fantasy, part family melodrama. When it dips out of the fantasy, it still enchants. Sergi Lopez and Maribel Verdú really drive the story in the historical drama scenes. I haven't seen Lopez in anything other than a film called Lisbon, in which he played a character so completely opposite from the Captain. He is a fierce and terrifying guy but actually comes across as sympathetic in a couple of scenes. Verdu is incredible as Mercedes, the head housekeeper (or something) who is Ofelia's closest friend in the house. The scenes with these characters and the civil war subplot never fail to hold your attention. Ivana Baquero is excellent as the main character Ofelia, her performance is very mature and believable and she shares some beautiful scenes with her mother and Mercedes. When the fairy tale elements return, it's astounding how naturally they fit into the story. I think that is the real magic of this film. The war drama and the fairy tale stem so naturally from each other. One thing that most reviews haven't mentioned is the violence. I think it's been firmly established that this is an adult's fairytale, but at times it is a very intense and brutal film. There are a couple of scenes in particular which are very disturbing and difficult to watch. These do not distract from the tone and theme of the film however so they don't seem exploitative at all. If you are squeamish, it may get a bit much for you. A final and obvious point I spose I can't get away without making: the set design, costumes and effects are superb. That's all. I was perhaps expecting a little more fantasy, but the unique blend of genres is absolutely compelling. There wasn't a false note anywhere or a plot hole, which are too often present in fantasy films. I can't recall a good, original fantasy film from recent years. Fortunately this blows MirrorMask out of the water. It doesn't share any of the contrivances, vagueness or ineffectual characters with that film. I just wish I'd seen it without already having read so much. I've tried very hard to not reveal any plot details at all as it does go to some surprising and unexpected places. Fortunately most of the reviews have done the same. I'd urge anyone with the chance to see it to do so immediately, and try not to read too much more.