Friday, November 02, 2007

DVD Review: Pan's Labyrinth.

One of the best movies I have watched this year has to be Pan's Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro. It is tragic and startling, switching between fantasy and violence throughout the entire film.

A girl's imagination takes over her reality in violent times. A cruel, sadistic and authoritative stepfather. A sickly mother. The family housekeeper who has a secret.

-- Mercedes, Ofelia's housekeeper

It is about a girl named Ofelia left to her own devices as her mother is bedridden awaiting the birth of her baby. A faun, who comes across as a sinister creature right from the start, informs Ofelia that she is the princess of a kingdom. Ofelia begins her journey after she is convinced that she is the princess, and in order to return to her kingdom, she must fulfil a series of tasks.

-- Honestly, he is sooooooo sinister looking. Why would a child approach him is beyond me.

All the tasks, mythical creatures and monsters are just allegories of the reality she is in.

She believes that all will be well after she completes her tasks, saving her mother and baby brother from pain. And the suffering she is going through, is her task and her burden. Faun probably an extension of her subconscious, to further convince herself that she is indeed the princess and she has to prove herself.

-- Jeezus!!

The story comes with a sad ending. Ofelia makes the ultimate sacrifice, and her passing is the ultimate proof to herself that she is indeed the princess when she is reunited with the King and Queen as she draws her last breath. Which I see as her version of Heaven, her way of coping with death.

-- Before the thrones of the King and Queen.

Using a vivid imagination to reconcile the reality and horror of war and abuse.. you know what? It reminds me of Roberto Benigni's "Life Is Beautiful".

Not your usual fairytale and definitely not for children. Heart-wrenching and sadly beautiful. It is an amazing movie. Everyone should see it.

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