Sunday, December 13, 2009
Top Ten Films of the Decade, 2000-2009: #9
#9. PAN'S LABYRINTH (Guillermo del Toro, 2006, Mexico) El Laberinto Del Fauno is a multicursal maze whose secret spiraling corridors traverse the boundary between violent reality and dark imagination. The film begins with a fairy tale, as a Faun narrates the story of Princess Moanna and her escape to the surface world. Blinded by the sun, she is swallowed by forgetfulness and passes from both worlds. But her father hopes that her spirit will rise and live happily once again in the Underground Realm. We are then introduced to Ofelia, a bright little girl who is often lost in books and make believe, an escape from the pain and suffering that surrounds her. As the film progresses, this fantasy world becomes more substantial while reality recedes and becomes the illusion. Ofelia is caught in a murderous nexus, given this Book of Crossroads, her only hope to complete the three magical tasks that will transport her from this demonstrable madness to the sanctity of the Underground Realm. Ofelia kidnaps her newborn baby brother and races towards her destiny; only the blood of an innocent will open the dark pathway between worlds. Her final unselfish decision and sacrifice fulfills the final task. A sad and haunting children’s tune guides her to the mysterious realm of the Faun. As the darkness consumes her, she imagines herself as Princess Moanna returning home to her mother and father…a happy ending. Guillermo del Toro’s dreamlike hodgepodge is an anachronistic fairy tale recipe flavored with tragedy and darkness. His inspirations come from many different sources such as: Brothers Grimm, Francisco Goya (check out his Black Painting: Saturn Devouring His Son), Hieronymus Bosch, and especially Alice In Wonderland. The creatures are truly frightening monstrosities and even the Faun is a conniving and deceitful conspirator in Ofelia’s fate. This is a sad and beautiful film that ends in the center of a maze…but whose impression will exist forever in the convolutions of our mind.
Words Chosen by Alex DeLarge