Review by Vives Anunciacion
Inquirer Libre May 4, 2007
R 13/ 112 minutes
En Español, with English Subtitles
***** (5 stars)
“If you’re listening, God,
Please don’t make it hard to know if we
should believe the things that we see.”
– Home, The Wiz
Set in a military outpost in the mountains of 1944 facist Spain under the tyrannical rule of Francisco Franco, a recluse, twelve-year old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) escapes the horrors of war and her sadistic and brutal stepfather (Capitan Vidal, deftly played by Sergi Lopez) when she discovers a magical world within a stone labyrinth where a faun (Doug Jones) reveals that she is the daughter of the King of the Underworld.
To claim the title of Princess, Ofelia is assigned three magical tasks involving a giant toad and a monstrous pale-skinned man. Ofelia narrowly fails to accomplish all tasks, in part because of her mother Carmen’s (Ariadna Gil) difficult pregnancy and the growing countryside insurgency, participated in by the outpost’s mayordoma Mercedes (Maribel Verdu).
Ofelia succeeds but terribly pays the price for her fantasies while the real world around her lights up in the red flames of revolution.
Pan’s Labyrinth tells two parallel tales of horror and hope clashing within the imaginations of young Ofelia.
The ending of Pan’s Labyrinth doesn’t ask its viewers a question, but offers a middleground to those who cannot reconcile whether one, both or neither of the parallel tales are true.
Still showing in cinemas this week, Pan’s Labyrith is the real fantastic tale.