Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth, (2006) dir. Guillermo Del Toro

Pan’s Labyrinth has been hailed by many as the best film of 2006, and who doesn’t love a good bandwagon when they see one? I would like to add my voice to the growing portion of people calling this film a masterpiece. "The Citizen Kane of fantasy cinema," to quote a well-known film critic.

It is the story of young girl named Ophellia who travels with her pregnant mother to live with her stepfather who is a high ranking military officer in Franco's Spain, fighting a guerrilla war against the communists in the forests nearby. Amid the horrors Ophellia finds herself being drawn into a fully immersive fantasy world where she is a lost Princess who must go on a quest to save the magical kingdom.

Pan’s Labyrinth is engaging on every level. It’s rare for me to be so absolutely transported by a film nowadays, having immersed myself in the regalia of ‘how it works’ for such a long time. Story, characters, images, allowed to unfold uncluttered by undergraduate intellectualism.

A film about innocence and experience, reality and fantasy and the interplay between these elements. The film commits fully to a realistic depiction of the horrors of war, while developing a wholly believable fantasy, with its own enchanting and valid mythology. I advice everyone who is near a cinema where this is playing to go and see it; everyone else should seek out a cinema that is and travel there especially. Exceptional cinema.