Sunday, November 09, 2008

Pan's Labyrinth

I had watched Guillermo Del Toro's Hellboy and Hellboy 2, and was impressed, particularly by the sequel. It is strong in art design and visuals, its like watching a comic book fantasy unfold in real.

His Pan's Labyrinth, a spanish language film released in 2006, is a genre of cinema in itself, incomparably innovative and visually spellbinding. The setting of the film is something I have never heard or seen before. A blend of war drama and fantasy or in other words the harsh reality and the dreamy surreal. Its a true Alice in Wonderland.

The story is centered around a little girl called Ofelia, who lands in the middle of a fascist regime. Alongside she lives in this fantasy world which is equally ghastly, but which attracts her. The two threads in the movie keep running in parallel, and they cut just once, in the end. And a very interesting end it is. For the first time it doesn't sink in. The end is different for the two worlds, happy in one and sad in the other.

All the characters in movie are strong, Ofelia with her sheer innocence and the fascist captain with his brutal nature impress the most. The makeup and special effects are top notch. The faun and the pale man, who puts his eyes on his hands to see(!), are petrifying. The film won three academy awards including one for art direction. There are some graphic scenes in the movie, and though partly a fairy tale its definitely not for kids.

I'm amazed by the effort Guillermo Del Toro puts in his films. For this one in particular he did the story, screenplay and makeup. I look forward to watching more of his films alongwith watching this one at least one more time.

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