Pan's Labyrinth

tox

Factory Girl
Has anyone seen this film yet?



It's a story set in Spain, around the time of Franco and is basically about some young girl who lives in a strange fairy-tale fantasy world. So far, so-so, but it's the crazy imagery which has attracted my attention. The style is heavily based on Goya, and very dark. Check out this article over at the Guardian for some sketches and background.

I'm yet to see the film myself but I've high hopes... Mark Kermode was singing its praises as "the best film of the year" yesterday on The Culture Show, and despite his endorsement I'm still interested in seeing it!

 

elgato

I just dont know
i cannot wait to see this, it looks superb, im trying to keep my expectations in check though.

the pale man character is one of the darkest images ive come across in a while

still, not as dark as...



i went to the Prado in Madrid a few years back as a relative youngster, and being in the physical presence of the Black Paintings is one of the most chilling experiences ive ever had, its utterly frightening
 
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dubversion

Guest
I saw it at the Brixton Ritzy preview thing last week and I thought it was a fantastic bit of work. Not perfect, by any means, but a film of real vision. Can't recommend it enough. I think somebody on the Joanna Newsom thread compared it to Ys in terms of the critical split. Jason Solomons - who I usually don't mind - rejected the film out of hand on the basis that it's 'fantasy', which is both a childish response and a pretty stupid one, the 'fantasy' element doesn't actually make up much of the running time, and the allegory is such that it's not exactly fucking Narnia anyway
 

elgato

I just dont know
Jason Solomons - who I usually don't mind - rejected the film out of hand on the basis that it's 'fantasy', which is both a childish response and a pretty stupid one, the 'fantasy' element doesn't actually make up much of the running time, and the allegory is such that it's not exactly fucking Narnia anyway
is the article in which he does this online? i'd like to read it, it seems like a pretty extreme line to take!
 
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dubversion

Guest
is the article in which he does this online? i'd like to read it, it seems like a pretty extreme line to take!
It was on the Robert Elms show on BBC London, I'm afraid.. Can't find anything else he's said about it online. It is a pretty dumb standpoint - I loathe 'fantasy' as a rule, but this is hardly Dungeons & Dragons nonsense, and he's doing the film (and thus anyone who takes him seriously as a critic) a terrible disservice but taking this position.

There's a few things I'm curious about in terms of the relationship between the 'real' and 'fantasy' elements but maybe I should wait until some others have seen it? What's the etiquette here in terms of dealing with spoilers anyway? :)
 

elgato

I just dont know
lol i can only speak for myself, but please dont spoil it! but i reckon if you put in a highly visible, highlighted "spoiler alert" kind of post then its ok though, although i dont think many people will have seen it yet...

i think thats completely farcical to dismiss fantasy in its entirety! first of all it needs some serious delineation...is it just any film based in a world which is not our own?! or is it some vague notion of mystical and folklore-ish tales? personally i think that either way its a perfectly valid and exciting form of film or prose, it allows massive opportunity for creative vision, and there is nothing stopping it being used as both a powerful and subtle vehicle to carry analytical weight.
 
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dubversion

Guest
Precisely.. every medium / genre whatever has its uses and fantasy isn't entirely beyond the pale. I share Solomons' aversion to fantasy as a whole but it's ridiculously dogmatic to draw some line in the sand on that basis..

When a few more people have seen it, I'd be interested in comparing thoughts (with big flashing red SPOILER lights)
 

tox

Factory Girl
Finally got around to seeing this tonight. Very impressed.

As dubversion said in the other thread, given the trailer and press, there's a great deal more civil war in it than you might imagine. The mix works well though, and I'm looking forward to a bit of a discussion once more people have seen it.
 

lazybones

f, d , d+f , p.
i think the poster misells it a little , i was under the impression it was like the secret garden! I am off to see it though after Kermode's hyperbolic praise on his bbc radio show. I usually agree with him on whats complete tripe rather than his favourites, that said he is quite a character and i respect his opinions. its good that he has certain views that he sticks to, rather than jumping about following other critics.


solomons seems a complete berk. would be like saying picasso is awful because he was not realist enough. that really is an awfully juvenile stance to take! just read a little piece on bunuel , seems he really loved clockwork orange, said [paraphrase]it was one of the few films that reflected the problems of modern times.
 

Gabba Flamenco Crossover

High Sierra Skullfuck
I went to see it last night. While it doesn't quite live up to the bouquets it's been attracting from some critics (how could it, really?), it's still a very, very good film, intelligent, affecting and technically on point.

There's actually very little fantasy - most of the film concerns the events around the house, and the rebels in the woods. The fantasy scenes are part of the larger goal of portraying the real world events through the eyes of a bookish, introverted and frightened child - the film never quite clarifies it, but there are strong hints that the labarynth is only a figment of her imagination.

Someone mentioned Goya - I also thought of Lorca, with reference to the film's emotional tone: dramatic and really gripping, but utterly unsentimental. Most of the emotional relationships in the film are family ones, and the script is very deft in unravelling these.

Definitely one to check. Anyone expecting a flash-bang fantasy epic is going to be disappointed though, it's much darker and deeper than that.
 

tox

Factory Girl
Someone mentioned Goya - I also thought of Lorca, with reference to the film's emotional tone: dramatic and really gripping, but utterly unsentimental. Most of the emotional relationships in the film are family ones, and the script is very deft in unravelling these.
The Lorca reference is an interesting one. I can see the links you suggest, especially with regard to the family relationships... Could be one worth investigating futher.

SPOILER?

The fantasy scenes are part of the larger goal of portraying the real world events through the eyes of a bookish, introverted and frightened child - the film never quite clarifies it, but there are strong hints that the labarynth is only a figment of her imagination.
As you say, the fantasy parts are really only there as an extension of the gritty realworld events. To that end I think they worked well apart from the pale-man scene. I wasn't quite sure how that fitted in with her fantasy distortion of the real world. The ideas it was trying to portray or the end goal she was trying to achieve were certainly less clear than many of the other fantasy sequences (for example, saving her brother, avoiding the captain, helping her mother). Perhaps it was a representation of hunger? or at a more basic level just fear or what was happening in the house?

Visually it was a great scene, but the behaviour of the girl just seemed wrong to me. Up until that point she had been trusting of the fairies, if not of the Faun, yet she brushed aside their warnings. Also, despite seeing the frightening pictures on the walls and the big pile of kids shoes, she didn't appear scared of the consequences of eating the grapes. I also don't get why there were three doors she could have opened rather than just one. It seemed a little pointless and if it was to demonstrate her mis-trust in the fairies before the grape scene, it was a little tame and late...
 
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dubversion

Guest
Spoilers!!

lots of discussion of this movie on another forum I frequent - explanations of the movie as a feminist dissection of fascism, that sort of thing. Some of which I can follow, some of which goes right over my head.

For me, the Pale Man / Banquet scene struck me as an allegory for the Catholic Church and its role in Franco's Spain.

As for the reality or otherwise of her fantasies, this could work if you allow for certain elements (the mandrake root, the chalk doors etc) being elements of her fantasy world she plays out for real. I've also seen it argued that one 'realm' is no more fantasy than the other - bear in mind that the fantasy world is no escapist wonderland but fraught with the same problems and dangers and codes as the 'real world'.
 
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dubversion

Guest
Interesting piece by Kermode in the current Sight & Sound..
 

mms

sometimes
its very good, considering for the it crosses the borders between a very bleak occuapation drama and a childs fantasy, the characters are very believeable esp the child and the evil captain, who you almost immmediatley want to die horribly, especially after the first scene and the scene of his mirror image narcissim/self hatred . It reminded me of alot of things, company of wolves, valerie and her week of wonders but also dennis potter a bit. i liked the idea of pan being the big man and not jesus and his pals too. the pale man is horrific, the huge feast laid in front of him that he doesn't touch, the images on the walls all add nicely to it.
 
SPOILER?

Visually it was a great scene, but the behaviour of the girl just seemed wrong to me. Up until that point she had been trusting of the fairies, if not of the Faun, yet she brushed aside their warnings. Also, despite seeing the frightening pictures on the walls and the big pile of kids shoes, she didn't appear scared of the consequences of eating the grapes. I also don't get why there were three doors she could have opened rather than just one. It seemed a little pointless and if it was to demonstrate her mis-trust in the fairies before the grape scene, it was a little tame and late...
Couldn't agree more! I also saw it as one of these too-made-up-for-future-release-as-mission-in-a-video-game kind of scene (complete with time trial, specific quest and monster villain), which made it very unscary, despite the well made set up.

Apart from the girl, I also found her mother's reaction when finding the very Otesanek-esque baby under the bed being out of character. Up until then the mother'd been very understanding of her daughter's interest in fairytales/reading/magic but just about after the troubles of the pregnancy, she suddenly got all offensive about it.

Then, the introduction of the captains evilness was way to explicit and done before for my taste. He came across as fairy tale-material, being thoroughly evil and all, but would have been more of a believable character if somewhat of a sneaky type, trying to persuade the girl to blow the cover for the resistance movement etc.
 

zhao

there are no accidents
zero character development + cardboard cutout personalities + pointless plot twists + unnecessary sadistic violence + annoying sound design + bad 3-D animation + subtle pro-war propaganda = A GIANT PIECE OF SHIT.

(in case you are wondering about the pro-war propaganda part -- the beacon of hope to these poor victims of fascism was: "the Americans are coming! they will save us!" ---- you see, evil DOES exist. and it takes the Americans to defeat it in all parts of the world.)

and I had hopes for this one...
 

matt b

Indexing all opinion
zero character development + cardboard cutout personalities + pointless plot twists + unnecessary sadistic violence + annoying sound design + bad 3-D animation...<snip>...= A GIANT PIECE OF SHIT....
that's overly harsh! its not perfect, but it is very enjoyable. the characters do develop (the doctor and the maid in particular) and are not cutouts (i've never seen a character quite like the mother before- why did she marry the captain?- a lot goes unsaid).

the other points are more debateable and less important

(in case you are wondering about the pro-war propaganda part -- the beacon of hope to these poor victims of fascism was: "the Americans are coming! they will save us!" ---- you see, evil DOES exist. and it takes the Americans to defeat it in all parts of the world.)

and I had hopes for this one...
given the history of the spanish civil war, i doubt that america would be used (or seen)as 'saviours'- far from it.
i don't think its a pro-war film, but it does accept that violence may be needed to gain freedom in extreme times
 

zhao

there are no accidents
yes i was prolly being overly harsh... was in a funny mood at the time maybe. now I would bring the "giant piece of shit" down to just simply a "pointless waste of time". :p

why did she eat the food? she was well fed in the castle. why does the scary creature move like a retard? "we're giving you another chance" WTF? WHY???
 
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