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El Laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth)

By Sparky | May 20, 2007

Yesterday brought me to Costco with Brien, and Costco brought me into ownership of El Laberinto del Fauno (Pans Labyrinth for those of us in the US), a simply stunning film. Prior to owning it I had heard a bit about it but had not had the pleasure of seeing it. In the last 24 hours I’ve not only rectified that problem, but watched it a second time for good measure.

Going in I knew it was by a Spanish Director (Guillermo Del Toro), but had no idea the audio was in Spanish as well. Normally I’m not a huge fan of subtitled films, but in this case it added a sense of charm and the fact that I couldn’t understand the vocals and thus was more able to let the poetic sounds of the script brought me deeper into Del Toro’s fantasy world.

Pans Labyrinth

It’s very much a dark fairy tale – it’s certainly not for kids with the amount of blood and violence, but it’s not gratuitous – used instead to show what horrors the ‘real world’ had to offer the heroine Ofelia. As dark and horrific as the real world is the fantasy world balances it out entirely with bright and visually mesmerizing visuals and a fanciful look and feel brought to life with the sublime art direction.

The hardship faced by Ofelia and the classic themes in fairy tales (three tasks, three bad guys, three good guys) work well with the style of directors style. In watching the movie for a second time I picked up on a number of subtle nods to both other fairy tables and common fables.

Between Del Toro’s Pans Labyrinth and Alfonso CuarĂ³n’s Children of Men I see what all the fuss was about over Spanish directors at the Oscars. They might not be “proper American filmmakers”, but their vivid and well thought out style mixed with their excellent storytelling leaves audiences world wide immersed in new worlds, sprung up from film and into reality. Both movies leave the audience with a series of thoughts spinning about in their heads, and with a need for more answers.

The movie is currently only available on DVD so no high-definition viewing yet, but the DVD transfer is decent and the audio is available in DTS EX 6.1 as well as Dolby Digital. The sound is well done, and the simple but catching music works well with the subject matter. Javier Navarrete pulls from subtle melodies that echo through the worlds ears, regardless of if performance by a full symphony, or hummed quietly by the heroine at several key points in the film.

If you haven’t seen it yet pick up a copy – you will be glad you did!

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Topics: Audio, Video, Web gems | 1 Comment »

One Response to “El Laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth)”

  1. Eduardo Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    Ah this movie was quite a surprise to be honest. I was kinda expecting a kids movie but instead got violence and blood.. o how I was so happy :D . This was an AWESOMe movie. The subtitles you said weren’t bad.. but.. yeah.. they were. I’m fluent in spanish so I was able to watch the movie without the subtitles.. i’d glance every once in a while it was just totally off/diffrent. I guess “lost in translation” does occur o well.