Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

Pan's Labyrinth (2007) [2007-03-03]

I felt in need of a crying jag, so I went to a showing of Pan's Labyrinth at Somerville Theatre last night.  (Sorry, Erica.)  I've gotta say, rock on $6.50/ticket.

Okay, not gonna lie, I was more impressed with my ability to actually understand any of the Spanish than I was with the film.

I didn't actually take notes (I decided I'd watch it like normal people watch movies) but of course I couldn't help taking notes in my head.

"Call him father; it's just a word."  Encapsulating the disconnect between mother and daughter, because Ofelia adores books plus of course words  (and true names) are so often powerful in fairy tales.  Sidenote: Significance of the girl being named Ofelia (Ophelia)?

Okay, I really liked the praying mantis type creature transforming into a fairy to match the image in her book.  Though on reflection, it adds to the possibility that the magic is all in her head, that these are just country insects.  (I dislike the idea that the magic is all in her head 'cause stuff like the frog and the key... my childhood fantasies were never that hallucinatory.)

When the labyrinth creature showed up, I was thinking Pan and then he said "fauno," and the Spanish language title of the film *is* El Labarinto del Fauno.

I loved Mercedes saying, "My mother taught me to beware of fauns."

"Okay, show me what happens now," and the page fills with blood.  That was one of the most powerful moments of the film for me.
I was pissed that the faun yelled at her 'cause hello, the book wouldn't tell her.

"This is a mandrake, a plant that dreamt of becoming human."
I at first thought the faun was gonna yell at her, say boo on humans and wanting to be like them.

The story she tells her brother:
The rose of eternal life on a mountain with poison thorns... "men talked about their fear of death but not about eternal life; the rose had no one to bequeath its gift to."  I still haven't quite managed to parse that with Christianity (though I feel it screams to be done so).  And of course I was struck by the fact that it doesn't have a happy ending (I was reminded of Hans Christian Andersen tales).

"God has already saved their souls; he doesn't care what happens to their bodies."
A scathing indictment of Christianity on the part of the film, though I was also very surprised that the priest would be believe the commie rebels were saved.

The Second Task:
* Why so slow?  The hourglass seems like half gone when she's barely gone through the doorway and yet she dawdles like whoa.
* She's read all those fairy tales (plus she very meaningfully looks at the paintings) and she breaks the rules anyway?
[Okay, IMDb offers some thoughts, such as the trance-like nature suggesting a Siren Song -- in which case I think that's a bit of a cheat -- and also reminding us that she was sent to bed without supper.]
* The fairies help protect her!  I love that.  Even after she has totally ignored their warnings (though I can understand that a bit if she doesn't entirely trust the faun and/or doesn't entirely trust them after they pointed to the wrong door).

What happens to The Book of Crossroads?  Given that the fairies point to a different door than the one she chooses, I would think she would be wary of trusting the faun who says she's done because she broke the rules even though she still succeeded in accomplishing the task.

After Mercedes slashes the Captain's mouth, it looks so freaky.  Like a perverted clown.
I winced like whoa when he was sewing with black thread.
And when he drinks a shot and blood fills the bandage.  Ouch.

The doctor's bit about not obeying orders unquestioningly just for the sake of obeying orders... that really hammers home that she is not to sacrifice her brother (which I was nervous would be the requirement ever since the faun told her to get her brother).  I wondered why they couldn't just prick *her* finger -- isn't she still an innocent (leaving aside my own issues of how one defines "innocence")?  [Sidenote: On the heels of her refusal to give up her brother to the faun, her lack of hesitation in giving her brother back to the Captain was jarring, though admittedly she knows the Captain won't harm his son.  Oh, speaking of that relationship, why does the Captain refute the watch story about his father only to ask the rebels to tell a similar story about his own death to his son?]

The faun telling her to bring her baby brother... I was totally thinking how it's like a weird twist on the David Bowie Labyrinth movie (I was reading the faun as the Goblin King, kind of had been ever since he first showed up).

*

I stayed through the credits, curious as to whether it was filmed on location anywhere.  I caught something about "jardines de Granada," but that was it.  I also learned that the narration is done the same guy who voiced the faun.  The best part, however, was possibly:

Insectos de Palo:
Cheech
Chong
May They Rest in Peace

*

Having seen entries like this (I *hated* Dancer in the Dark, btw) I was expecting a cathartic bawling.  This totally didn't happen.

coffeeandink's review was mentioned in the comments there, and reading it and the ensuing comment thread makes me feel like a weak reader of the film.
Tags: films: foreign: spanish (spain), movies: watched
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