Monday, August 20, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

I should mention a couple of things.

First, I hate the fantasy film genre. Hate it with an effin' passion. I can't suspend logic and embrace disbelief long enough to enjoy most fantasy films, for some reason. (Unless the star of the flick wears a cape or spins webs on which he can swing, that is...) Secondly, I hate movies with subtitles. To really enjoy a movie, I need to invest in the characters, to form what amounts to a relationship with them.

I dunno why, it's just my way. But subtitles make investing in the characters hard for me.

But people kept emailing me with the "Have you seen Pan's Labyrinth yet?" And, "I so excited for you to see Pan's Labyrinth! It rocks." And one person went so far as to email: "You know, you're one sexy bastard!"

(OK, that last one wasn't really true. See, I can fantasize, even if I don't like the fantasy flicks.)

So, on the recommendation of several people who accidentally found The Film Geek, I settled into my faux Lazy-Boy and clicked "play".

I loved Pan's Labyrinth! In fact, I can't say it loudly or boldly enough in type, so I have to add emphasis: I effin' loved this movie! The characters, the plot, the pacing, the dialogue all were simply brilliant, and put together made this flick one of the best I've seen in a long, long time.

Set in 1940's pre-Civil War Spain, a young girl named Ofelia struggles to make sense of her oppression and her lifestyle. She escapes from and deals with the challenges of her day-to-day life (political and familial changes, and a constant sense of danger) through a fantasy, in which she is a mythical princess on an important mission. For me, the fantasy itself--with the strange creatures of mythology and it's metaphorical parallels to the peripheral plot--are less important than the reason the fantasy existed, and how it affected Ofelia's life.

Through the fantasy Ofelia found strength and an identity; she gained control of an existence that was otherwise out of her control, and became the architect of her own life.

I made such a mistake avoiding this movie. First, the fantasy aspect was integral to the central plot, and an excellent vehicle in which to explore overcoming powerlessness. Secondly, the subtitles were done in a manner that seemed more narrative than true representations of what was being spoken. I realized half-way through that I was watching the movie mostly without even reading the subtitles, even though I don't hablo espanol.

So, those of you who mentioned Pan's to me: you were right: In addition to me being one sexy bastard, Pan's Labyrinth was incredible. Thanks for the recommendations.


primalscreamx said...

And he will eat them in a boat and he will eat them with a goat...
I love foreign films. Just saw Volver and thought it was a lot of fun.

The Film Geek said...

Seriously, Volver has been atop my DVD stand for at least two weeks. Every time my wife suggests we watch it, I retort with the childish:" "You mean, vulva?" Then, I laugh and she sighs and we watch something else.

Now, I gotta watch it.

Elvis Drinkmo said...

Thanks for another good recommendation, you sexy bastard.

I like foriegn films to. City of God and Battle Royale are two of my favorites.

The Film Geek said...

Elvis, you are such a sweet talker!

I've got City Of God at the top of my Netflix que, on the recommendation of another good friend. Hope to see it late next week.

Elvis Drinkmo said...

You won't be disappointed. At least I hope not.

Rebecca Burch said...

Oh, MAN, I loved Pan's Labyrinth! I have to admit, this is probably the best movie I've seen in a long, long time. It's on my "must buy" list.

JDB said...

City of God is incredible, as well. Sadly, it's not fantasy (completely, at least).

Suzy said...

Pan's Labyrinth was such an incredible film! Hey, speaking of foreign films though, I've been meaning to ask have you ever seen Delicatessin?!? That is another crazy French movie that I really think you'd enjoy.

The Film Geek said...

I've not seen it, Suzy. But I'm heading to Netflix now to add it. Thanks.

Elvis Drinkmo said...

I second that thanks on the recommendation for that one Suzy. There is a famous French comedy actor who's name escapes me who starred in a couple of French films on Sundance that I loved, but again can't remember any names.

One scene I remember was this guy trying to give cocaine to a Catholic priest at a formal dinner party, thinking coke was some cure for asthma. Hillarious. If that rings a bell with anyone- please let me know what the name of that movie or actor was.