Thursday, September 27, 2007
Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth takes place in Spain, around 1944, during the Spanish Civil War, and centers around Ofelia, a little girl caught between a fairy tale and a brutal reality. A fatherless child, Opelia is faced with a strange and harsh life when her mother marries Captain Vidal, an officer in Generalísimo Francisco Franco’s army. Vidal is a cold, cruel man and Ofelia's life in this forested military outpost becomes increasingly stressful as she forms attachments to some of the rebel spies who are working in Vidal's very household.
Meanwhile, Ofelia is consumed with completing a series of tasks which will prove her worth and allow her to enter the fairy world. Actually, according to the story, she is trying to reenter the fairy world through the labyrinth, and she must be very, very brave. Ofelia is required to be tough in both worlds--one which is filled with sorrow, the other filled with horrifying obstacles.
This is a very sad movie. The die is cast for all of the characters from the beginning; everyone has either made his or her choices in life, or has no choice, like poor Ofelia, and the audience watches the consequences unfold. It is also an excellent movie. All the actors were wonderful, especially Ivana Baquero, who portrayed Ofelia. That's a name to be remember.
Pan's Labyrinth is subtitled, and I haven't given much of a synopsis here, but be sure to pay very close attention in the beginning, when the time period and the source of the fairy tale are established (some of it goes by quickly). It's an intricate story, and the ending is open to interpretation. If you see it, please come back and tell me what you thought.