El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth)

“The tyrant’s reign ends with his death, but the martyr’s reign starts with his death” – Søren Kierkegaard

Pan’s Labyrinth is a fairy tale at heart. Set in 1944 Spain during Franco’s fascist regime, the film explores the timeless quality of stories and their ability to free us of the shackles that bind us in this world. Eleven year old Ofelia sees what others do not see: a world of fairies and fauns, kings and queens, mandrakes and giant toads; a world sewn together with morality and the collective conscience of its inhabitants. The movie shifts seamlessly between this world and a Spanish military outpost in the hills where Ofelia’s stepfather, Captain Vidal is engaging rebels in the woods. In an overgrown labyrinth near the outpost, Ofelia meets an aging faun who convinces her that she’s a princess of his realm who had ventured out into the human world ages ago and forgotten who she truly was.

The labyrinth is one of the last remaining portals her father had created so that someday she could find her way back home. However to open the portal, she has to complete three tasks that will test her courage and spirit through the choices she makes. This world is in stark contrast to the war torn Spain, where cruelty and injustice has become the norm.

Sergi Lopez delivers a compelling performance as the sadistic Captain Vidal, obsessed with time and his desire to meet death in the battlefield, “the only decent way to die”. Ivana Baquero’s Ofelia is nuanced and heartwarming. Guillermo del Toro’s writing is beautiful, the narrative exciting, frightening and outraging in turns.

Pan’s Labyrinth is fraught with symbolism and allegories to the world around us and the movie is open to multiple interpretations. But ultimately it is a movie about the stories within us, tales that define us and shield us from a hostile and cruel world; stories that sometimes spill out through our actions and leave a mark on this world, making it a little less dark and a little more warm.

Pan's Labyrinth- 2

Written by: Jerin Joseph Raju

Edited by: Anirudh Chand


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