El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth)
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Actors: Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones, Sergi Lpoez
Year of Release: 2006
Awards: Academy Award (Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup) and many more…click here for the entire list
Pan’s Labyrinth has definitely been one of the most talked about movies this year be it in Cannes or Oscars (it was also nominated for the Best Foreign Film category) and at numerous other film festivals. If you go by a general talk that this movies is more or less a fairy tale and miss the flick…then I must tell you that this will possibly be the fairy tale that you will regret for missing! Quite rare is such a melange’ comprising a fairy tale, terrific performances, splendid art and a captivating storyline….
Story: The story begins with a description of Princess Moanna, the daughter of the King of Underworld, who fascinated by the world above escapes from her kingdom. When she finally comes to Earth, she becomes a mortal and dies eventually; yet her father hopes that her spirit shall return to his world in some place in some form. The present timeline is set in 1944, Spain which is in terms with post Civil War. Captain Vidal, a ruthless Fascist, leads a team of Army soldiers who are at war with the rebels in a forest in Spain. He carefully plans all the establishments which can be used to monitor the movement of the rebels. Meanwhile, his new wife Carmen who’s pregnant is on her way to meet him along with her daughter, Ofelia. The convoy stops in the middle of the forest and it is here where Ofelia sees a huge insect which she believes is a fairy. Later they carry on and meet Captain Vidal. Near the establishment, Ofelia happens to see a gigantic entrance which Mercedes, one of Vidal’s servants, warns is a Labyrinth and asks Ofelia not to go inside. At night, the fairy appears again and leads Ofelia deep inside the Labyrinth where she meets a Faun who instantly recognizes her to be Princess Moanna. The faun requests Ofelia to perform three tasks as prescribed by the Book of Crosswords just to make sure that she still has the essence to go back to Underworld. Unless she performs the three tasks before the arrival of full moon the portal to the next world shall not open for her. First task is to retrieve a key from the trunk of a tree, and the second one is to collect an object using that key kept in a secret location. Meanwhile Carmen falls ill, so the Faun gives Ofelia a Mandrake root and with its magic elements Carmen is cured almost instantly. While doing the second task, the fairies plead her not to eat anything kept on the table; but she violates the rules which awakes a Pale Man who eats away children usually. Somehow Ofelia manages to escape but when the Faun comes to know about what had happened he becomes very angry and refuses to give her the third task.
Meanwhile, the war with the rebels is taking new turns everyday. In one of the shootouts, the army wounds a rebel badly who’s brought back for interrogation. After some gruesome torture, the doctor who’s been secretly working with the rebels gives a poison upon the request of the rebel. Vidal upon hearing a noise in Carmen’s room, finds out about the mandrake root which his wife throws in fire though Ofelia resists at this act. Vidal who had realized that the doctor has also been working with the rebels, kills him too almost at this same point, Carmen feels terrible pain and she dies giving birth to a boy. Vidal suspects that Mercedes has been working with the rebels too and upon realizing this, she tries to escape with Ofelia; but they are caught. Later Mercedes escapes after brutally wounding Vidal. The faun who has taken pity of Ofelia gives her a last chance and tells her to come to the Labyrinth along with her brother. Ofelia manages to escape with her brother but Vidal follows her into the Labyrinth. The rebels who had been regrouping, attack the establishment and kill almost everyone. The faun takes the knife which Ofelia had got from the second task and tells her that if she has to enter the Underworld then that would be only after offering an innocent blood…so, she must let her brother die! Ofelia refuses at this proposition and Faun vanishes right there. Vidal who had been following her, snatches the baby and shoots her. Ofelia dies instantly. As soon he comes out Mercedes along with other rebels confront him. He silently hands over the baby and the rebels shoot him dead. While mourning on Ofelia’s body, Ofelia’s blood trickles down and it falls on the portal which transforms her soul to the underworld. Their she meets her parents and the faun who tell her that she did the right thing by refusing to sacrifice her brother. Thereafter, the family lives happily in their kingdom.
Quite a story!…Couldn’t resist writing on and on about it; it’s got such a good storyline. The acting is amazing…Ivana Baquero, the girl who plays Ofelia, has to be the new face of the year!…She’s terrific in her role, as someone who’s fascinated by fairy tales, one who believes in fairies and legends. Also as someone who’s caring about her mother and her yet to be born brother, on the other hand quite petrified by her new stepfather’s mannerisms. Lopez, who plays the role of a ruthless Fascist,Vidal is scarily good. His cold heart and the way he controls the lives of others around him make him stand apart. All credit to the script writers and the director for coming up with a great star cast. Another important feature in the film is the make up and the art….Faun and Pale Man are scary especially Pale Man….who could have come up with the idea of a monster whose eyes are in his palms???!!!….Bravo…Bravo…No wonder, the film has won loads of awards.
Well that was my take on a movie, which I regret for having seen so late!….It’s beautiful, well directed with some terrific acting and art!…Don’t miss this fairy tale….it’s just not those bedtime stories, which go on like “ek tha raja, ek thi rani, dono mar gaye katham kahani” with some salt and pepper!!!….It’s a perfect combo of Ofelia’s innocence, Vidal’s viciousness, fairy’s magic and Labyrinth’s Mystery!
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One of the trailers of the movie….