Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

I've a million and one things to do, but yesterday I decided that I was going to go to the cinema. It was the only night the showroom was showing pan's labyrinth at a time when I'm not at work. Actually it was quite liberating to just think everything else can wait, tonight I'm going to go to the cinema. In fact I didn't even need to bother cooking as I had a handful of macdonalds vouchers that had come through the post. I'll have two big macs please! Thing is I probably won't fancy another big mac for quite some time now. So I did some blogging, listened to operator please, which got me in the mood for punching the air. Well, ok, not quite literally, but if I'd been a heavy weight in training I'd've been ready to hit some punch bags. I'd've what a funny word, it has two apostrophes. I digress... so it was walk, then maccy D, then walk, then cinema. Excellent, all ready for some dark fantasy tale.

Well, it certainly isn't Willow, nor for that matter is it anything like Labyrinth!

Pan's Labyrinth has a huge rating on rotten tomatoes which helped convince me to watch the movie. It is, however, a very dark and stark movie. A realist/fantasy movie where you are left unsure as to whether the fantasies are purely in the mind of the central child character. Set in Spain during the civil war, Ofilia travels with her mother to stay with mother's new husband. Captain Vidal is the sadistic leader fighting the resistance, who holds no qualms when it comes to inflicting pain and torture on those he considers his enemy, leading to some gruesome scenes. At the backdrop of these realist stories, Ofilia has her fantastical quests from the dark and sinister Faun, leading to various encounters including the revolting 'Pale Man' whose antics and image was so abominable that a girl sat near me had to run out of the cinema in fear - and not return! This tale of death and destruction with it's dark fantasy scenes is rather brooding, but it was the final scene that really struck me. Ofilia is told she is the lost princess of the king of the underworld, and on passing three tests she will once again enter his presence. We are not sure whether these quests are a figmant of her imagination, but the scene where she meets the king is quite potent. I can't remember the exact words of welcome, but there was a great sense of love and affection of receiving his daughter back into his presence. It made me think of the love of god for his children as he welcomes them into his presence, and that the path to this love is not easy, though it is ever-present.
I initially thought that I wouldn't relish watching it again, but after a day, I think I would. It's a good film, but not an easy one to watch.


felicity said...

not a good choice as a "date" movie then ;o)

Alastair said...

Thanks for the review, I've been wondering whether to see this and I think i might now!