Sunday, January 28, 2007
Pan's Labyrinth: The Big Questions
I'm not into warlocks, hogwarts, witches and unicorns, so whenever I see the word "fantasy" in a movie description (unless it's immediately followed by the words Speedos or Brazilian dudes), I look the other way.
I am, however, very much into Spanish cinema. And I am over-the-top into the new film Pan's Labyrinth by director Guillermo del Toro. Set in the time of the fascist revolution in Spain in the 1940s, a young girl stumbles into a magical world over which she is to reign provided she can complete three challenges. It's kind of like The Wizard of Oz meets The Secret Garden by way of
any WWII, Nazi-resistance movie.
Pan's Labyrinth is no children's movie, though. In fact, it's quite Biblical. It questions the merit of obedience and sacrifice and leads the viewer through the more benevolent forms of these concepts all the way to their most violent, hate-filled extremes. For me, watching the trials of the young Ofelia found me asking myself questions about the idea of the garden of Eden, of Jesus' sacrifice and the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his only son Issac. Is the biblical notion of sacrifice - of Jesus having to endure the shame and pain of his death here on earth really the only way to expiate our sins? Was it really such a horrible thing that Eve ate from a tree? Why and how is Satan? Some pretty heady stuff for a Friday evening.
I'd go into this further but I don't want to spoil the movie for you. Go see it, let me know what you think, and we'll discuss.