el laberinto del fauno

I have a private theory, Sir, that there are no heroes and no monsters in this world. Only children should be allowed to use these words.
Alfred De Vigny
The monsters of our childhood do not fade away, neither are they ever wholly monstrous
John le Carré
Monsters are typically thought of as existing outside social norms and codes of conduct. They are maladapted freaks who have been rejected and spurned by the public. Either deified or vilified, monsters are constantly made separate from the rules and lives of a civilized society. Still, as has been repeatedly argued, they serve a necessary function, and because of this they may be removed from day-to-day life, but they are always present.
Amber L. Davisson

Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark fairy tale that distils his distinctive mix of fact and fantasy, poetry and politics, pain and pleasure. It’s an epic, poetic vision in which the grim realities of war are matched and mirrored by a descent into an underworld populated by fearsomely beautiful monsters -a transformative life-affirming nightmare which is the very best film of the year. 

The film is set in 1944 when the Allies invaded Nazi-held Europe. In Spain, a troop of soldiers are sent to a remote forest to flush out the rebels. They are led by Capitan Vidal, a murdering sadist, and with him are his new wife Carmen and her 11 year old daughter, Ofelia, from a previous marriage. Ofelia witnesses her stepfather’s sadistic brutality and she is drawn into Pan’s Labyrinth, a magical world of mythical beings.

A large stick insect, which Ofelia believes to be a fairy, leads her into an ancient stone labyrinth, but Ofelia is stopped by Vidal’s housekeeper Mercedes, who is secretly supporting her brother Pedro and other rebels. That night, the insect appears in Ofelia’s bedroom, where it transforms to a fairy and leads her through the labyrinth. There, Ofelia meets the faun, who believes she is the reincarnation of Princess Moanna. The faun gives Ofelia three tasks to complete in order for her to acquire immortality and return to her kingdom.

Watch the trailer of Pan’s Labyrinth

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Movie Info

Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro returns to the phantasmagorical cinema that defined such early fare as Cronos and The Devil’s Backbone with this haunting fantasy-drama set in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War and detailing the strange journeys of an imaginative young girl who may be the mythical princess of an underground kingdom. Her mother, Carmen (Ariadna Gil), recently remarried to sadistic army captain Vidal (Sergi Lpez) and soon to bear the cruel military man’s child, shy young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) is forced to entertain herself as her recently-formed family settles into their new home nestled deep in the Spanish countryside. As Ofelia’s bed-ridden mother lies immobilized in anticipation of her forthcoming child and her high-ranking stepfather remains determined to fulfill the orders of General Francisco Franco to crush a nearby guerilla uprising, the young girl soon ventures into an elaborate stone labyrinth presided over by the mythical faun Pan (Doug Jones). Convinced by Pan that she is the lost princess of legend and that in order to return to her underground home she must complete a trio of life-threatening tasks, Ofelia sets out to reclaim her kingdom and return to her grieving father as Vidal’s housekeeper Mercedes (Maribel Verd) and doctor (Alex Angulo) plot secretly on the surface to keep the revolution alive. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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