Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fawning Over The Faun

Pan’s Labyrinth (the Spanish title actually means “The Labyrinth of the Faun”) is actually not an easy movie to sit through. It’s rightfully called a fairy tale for grown-ups because even the happily-ever-after ending is soaked in melancholy, loss and—spoiler alert!—blood.

The setting is post civil war Spain in 1944, and a young girl and her mother arrive at a country house where she meets her new stepfather, a cruel fascist general who’s waging war on the rebels in the countryside. What follows next are two parallel stories, one in a war-torn world of barbaric generals and desperate rebels, and the other in a magical underworld filled with fantastic and fearsome creatures. In both worlds pain and sacrifice abound, as well as love and acts of kindness and beauty. The movie works on several levels, and the great thing about it is that both worlds are as compelling and as disturbing as the other.

While watching it I realized I was drifting in and out of the movie, that there were moments when I was aware that I was watching a movie. Usually for me it’s a disturbing sign, that the movie did not successfully grab my attention and hold it. But I realized I was unconsciously stepping back from it. I think I was afraid to get too sucked into it and be more disturbed and saddened. Partly it’s also because the shifts between worlds were, at times, not as fluid and effortless.

Still, minor quibbles to a major achievement by Mexican director Guillermo del Toro. Watch it now before it disappears from the movie houses.
“Sabi na, watch it nga eh!”

17 comments:

aries said...

hi mcvie,
can i link you?

here's mine:
ariesthewarriorprincess.blogspot.com

salamat.

Nelson said...

When we went to watch this we thought it was simply a fairy tale. Oh boy we're so disturbed... ;-)

Raymond said...

This was an awesome achievement indeed, and should best be seen on the big screen to fully appreciate it. I saw it on my laptop, and it's hard not to drift in and out of ANY movie when you watch under such conditions. Nonetheless, I was spellbound by the depth and breath of the filmmaker's imagination, while remaining rooted in a most gruesome reality. Fabuloso!

amateur misanthrope said...

Pan's Labyrinth is SOOOOOOO GOOD! So worth all the OSCARS nominations and awards. It's a fairy tale for grown-ups because (a) of the violence; (b) it's not the usual "fantasy" movie--you could actually think the girl was delusional to the very end.

Anonymous said...

nice review joel.... it all the more intrigued me to watch this... I have a (pirated) DVD but I've been postponing watching it because I have a feeling it will bore me. =)

One of these days, may I invite you to watch a movie with me? =)

Randy

Danuel said...

I actually thought it was another narnia-ish movie trying to ride the wave of fantasy movies that have been popping up. But, it surprised me to no end and I really really loved it. It was a very dark fairy-tale which is very true to what fairie stories are supposed to be. ;-)

Q The Conqueror said...

I think Pan's Labyrinth is one of the best movies I ever watched. Or baka I'm just a sucker for "adult fairytales". Yung favorite part ko was the hand-eye monster --> that was friggin' creepy :D Nung natapos cia, nabadtrip ako and napaluha, and that's pretty rare.

joelmcvie said...

ARIES: Go, link evur! :-)

josh said...

Watchd the movie, what can i say... i wish i have her magical chalk!

Anonymous said...

Hay naku, I actually trooped to Glorietta yesterday hoping to catch up with the last day showing of this movie. And then lahat ng theaters Spider-man na ang showing. I really have to visit my friendly neighborhood pirate na.

joelmcvie said...

AMATEUR MISANTHROPE: I actually prefer to think that it was all imagined by the girl. Then the movie's tagline "Innocence has a power evil cannot imagine" makes more poignant sense. Her innocence and imagination made her living hell more bearable and in turn took her away from it--cruelly, in the eyes of her guardian, triumphantly in her own imagined world.

Q The Conqueror said...

Hmm... I can't believe how softhearted/ isip-bata ako. Haha. I really wanted to believe in the girl na totoo yung naiimagine niya and she wasn't just schizophrenic/ delusional/ or having an uberactive imagination. That way, hindi masasayang yung sacrifices niya.

joelmcvie said...

Q: Seen in another way, hindi rin sayang yung mga pinaggagagawa niya. She saved her half-brother's life from being accidentally killed during the rebel attack. She drugged, slowed down and distracted the general so that in the end the rebels caught up with him.

Q The Conqueror said...

hmmm... seen that way, oo nga no. Im not sure about that. I think the baby would have still survived even if she just stayed in her room. Pero in this movie, everything kasi is interconnected. And I'm still pissed off at the rebels dumbness >_< geez. "Hi! I'm a rebel! I ensure that anybody who helps me gets caught as well!"

joelmcvie said...

Q: But if she stayed in her room, she wouldn't turn into the Princess! (Ahahaha! Balik tayo sa fantasy chorvah.)

Q The Conqueror said...

Lol! oo nga naman. Grabe namang batang yan. From a medical standpoint di ko maintindihan kung schizophrenic siya or simply delusional. At kung delusional siya, ang hyperactive naman ng imagination niya :P nakakagawa ng scary monsters with hand-eyes :))

joelmcvie said...

Q: In total fairnezz, with her imagination she could have grown up into an Oscar-winning production designer! Etchos. :-)