February 01, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

I had a choice to see either 'Babel' or 'Pan's Labyrinth', and I chose the latter for two reasons: it was a new release, and because I wanted to see if I could follow a movie in Spanish without reading the English sub titles. The movie was rather captivating in a curious way. For at least half way through the movie I was trying to configure whether I was watching a socio historic piece or a fairytale, not that I minded watching either since both story lines were gripping.

Guillermo Del Toro's movie Pan's Labyrinth progresses simultaneously at two levels with Ofelia, the eleven year old protagonist, being the only one to partake in the plot on both sides of the divide. The dual canvases that Guillermo Del Toro paints are fascinating; on one he paints a pastoral landscape marred by the violence of war, and on the other he paints a world bereft of light, but one that holds the promise of hope. At one level that is Ofelia's very own, she is an Alice in Grimms fairyland, with goblins, satyrs, monsters, spells, magical chalks etall, trying to get back to her magical kingdom where she is an immortal Princess. Then there's the other level, a 'grimmer' one, that is set in Spain during the fascist regimes of the 1940s where Ofelia is but one of the many victims of a cruel captain, also her step father, the ultimate monster who savours brutality. He unleashes unimaginable violence and torture, without qualms, on local partisans who are hiding in the forests beyond Ofelia's magical labyrinth.

The connection, if at all, between the reality of the Spanish Civil War and the fantasy world of Ofelia, is for the audience to fathom.

Due to the naked violence and gore, I would not recommend this movie to the fragile, but anyone interested in seeing a 'different' movie, this is it!


EXSENO said...

I can't do movies and sub titles. I either have to watch or read, so that would mean that I have to watch it twice once to read, once to watch. lol

Sanjay said...

It's on my list, thank you for the review. I did see Babel I liked it very much. Did not have much trouble with the subtitles ..or so I think. The Japanese actress who plays the deaf girl was just amazing.

lalitha said...

I don't mind subtitles, never heard of Labyrinth.will have to watch it. Thanks for the review.

Sharique said...

I usually decide my movie for the weekend after reading a review on your blog (you see we have a very rich in resources Local Area Network ;) ) but this seems to be scary!! lets see

_Jonathan_ said...

Could u fallow the movie without the subtitle?
I saw the "behind the scenes" of this movie. I think the movie will be great 4 me.
Take care.

Manas said...

So you could follow the movie without the subtitles?

nandi23 said...

is this only showing in select theaters?
honestly is there really no subtitles?:(

pRicky said...

so u were successful at watchng the movie without the subtitles?
good work
heard about this one quite pedantic socio istronic i would think

Id it is said...

I understood most of it I'd say, but there were parts that I missed, I'm sure.
Has this movie been released in S. America? I wonder how it'll fare there.

pricky, manas, nandi,
This movie was released two weeks ago , and you have the option of watching it with or without sub titles, depending on the movie hall. Since I have some (limited) proficiency in Spanish, I was able to follow most of the movie without relying on the sub titles.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Good to know.