Friday, 22 October 2010

Friday is for Fairytales: Pan's Labyrinth

This is a meme hosted by me every Friday.

My post today is about: Pan's Labyrinth (movie)

This fantasy movie from 2006 really reminds me of a dark fairy-tale and when you think about it, it is a fairy-tale told in a different, more modern, yet still quite traditional way.

The movie opens with a fairy-tale prologue, telling us that many years ago, Princess Moanna from the Underground Realm escaped to the Earth, curious to see what was there. But she was used to darkness and the sun blinded her, she lost her memory, became very weak and died. Her father continued to hope that her spirit would return to him one day.

Then, the story shifts to the real world of WW2 in Spain, to a girl called Ofelia, who loves books and especially fairy-tales. Throughout the movie, it becomes evident that Ofelia has taken on the role of Moanna, unknowingly. Ofelia is a very imaginative girl and when magical things begin to happen to her, she takes them very seriously. When she finds a stick insect, she believes it is a fairy and chases after it to an ancient Labyrinth nearby (which was Princess Moanna’s entry way to the Earth in the prologue). This is only the beginning of her adventures. In the Labyrinth, she meets a faun who tells her that she is the reincarnation of Moanna. She must complete three tasks (magical number) before the full moon in order to return to her real father, the King. She must get a key from the mouth of a huge toad, she must use the key to get a dagger from the lair of the so-called Pale Man, a very dangerous, man-eating creature, and finally, she must take her baby brother to the Labyrinth. After completing the last task (bringing the baby to the Labyrinth), the faun tells her that they need the blood of an innocent – of her baby brother – to open the portal into the Underground Realm and at this point, Ofelia must make a choice.

I won’t say more to avoid spoilers. I can say that Ofelia’s adventures truly resemble a fairy-tale quest of a brave, inexperienced, innocent individual. She meets magical creatures, performs magical tasks and all of it is done so she can become a princess again. The interesting thing about the movie is that one can never tell whether Ofelia is just making everything up, an elaborate consequence of her wild, vivid imagination, or if all of those magical things are actually happening to her. There is enough proof to support both theories. But no matter what you believe, Ofelia’s journey is magical either way, and it is dark journey, accompanied by danger.

If you like fairy-tales and don’t mind a slightly darker journey, I totally recommend this movie to you. It shows a very beautiful story and the magic of it is a true reprieve from a world of warring and blood, which is the world of WW2. Ofelia is a truly endearing fairy-tale heroine.


Laura @ A Jane of All Reads said...

I've avoided this movie since someone told me it's very very sad. Is this true?

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

@Life After Jane: It does have a very sad ending, I confess, but I personally found the story very beautiful, so I don't regret watching this movie. I hope this helps.:)

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I didn't really like this film; I think I found it too sad and I didn't really like the supernatural side. The historical aspect was fascinating though!

Hehe-the word verification is "readish"

Blodeuedd said...

This one made me cry. But still it was such a great and strange story

Enbrethiliel said...


I want to watch this one soon, too. I can't believe I still haven't seen it yet! (It has something to do with a friend, who is very well read in Spanish national history, telling me that this movie got so much wrong. But now I think I should see for myself, aye?)

Jan von Harz said...

I totally enjoyed the movie, despite it's darkness. It was more in keeping with the true nature of fairy-tales.

Unknown said...

I don' think I'd enjoy this film. The darker side of fairytales can very sinister, can't they? I prefer more light to my films - escapism.