Thursday, 15 July 2010

Film Review With Sam Larner

Pan's Labyrinth

In honour of Spain’s victory in the final of the World Cup I have decided to review a Spanish film this week. I’ve actually only seen two Spanish films (this and Fermat’s Room) and both have been absolutely brilliant. Pan's Labyrinth is a modern day classic, made in 2006 but set in 1944, during the Spanish Civil War. It focuses on Ofelia who has a great imagination which she uses to entertain herself while her parents are occupied; her mother occupied by being in the last months of childbirth and her father is focused on hunting down the Spanish resistance around the hills.

The focus of the film is really fairytales and stories in general. However it doesn’t inhabit a fairytale world, there is much more violence than I ever thought would be in it however it is well placed and thoughtfully conceived violence. That’s not to say that it’s not shocking and sometimes difficult to watch but it always appears necessary and is used to advance the plot.

The film is helmed by Guillermo del Toro who has worked on other great films such as “Cronos”, “Hellboy” and “Rudi y Cursi”. He is the master of mysterious and magical lands and this falls well within his remit. Some of the images that Del Toro conjures are stunning and although they’re CGI they do make you consider that technology has now progressed so far that it’s only limits are the imagination of the director.

After the initial setup which mostly features the lonely Ofelia the film takes a right turn and switches to a much darker tone. It instead focuses on the father (Sergi Lopez) and his battle in the Spanish Civil War. Ofelia’s travels in her fairytale world also take on a much more sinister tone.

Pan's Labyrinth is a brilliant film. I was originally alerted to it by my brother who also loved it. Now although I’m predetermined to dislike anything that he likes I had to make an exception for this. It is absolutely excellent and is a great entrance to Del Toro’s further works.

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