Pan's Labyrinth

The pale man's eyes on his hands is a feature shared by the Japanese mythological monster the Tenome (a name which means "hand eyes").Pan's LabyrinthAboutThe story takes place in Spain during the summer of 1944, five years after the Spanish Civil War, during the early Francoist period. The narrative intertwines this real world with a mythical world centered on an overgrown, abandoned labyrinth and a mysterious faun creature, with whom the main character, Ofelia, interacts. Ofelia's stepfather, the Falangist Captain Vidal, hunts the Spanish Maquis who fight against the Francoist regime in the region, while Ofelia's pregnant mother Carmen grows increasingly ill. Ofelia meets several strange and magical creatures who become central to her story, leading her through the trials of the old labyrinth garden. The film employs make-up, animatronics, and CGI effects to bring life to its creatures.Spanish-Mexican dark fantasy filmDel Toro stated that he considers the story to be a parable, influenced by fairy tales, and that it addresses and continues themes related to his earlier film The Devil's Backbone (2001),to which Pan's Labyrinth is a spiritual successor, according to del Toro in his director's DVD commentary. The original Spanish title refers to the fauns of Roman mythology, while the English, German and French titles refer specifically to the faun-like Greek deity Pan. However, del Toro has stated that the faun in the film is not Pan.Pan's Labyrinth premiered on 27 May 2006 at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was theatrically released by Warner Bros. Pictures in Spain on 11 October and in Mexico on 20 October. Pan's Labyrinth opened to widespread critical acclaim, with many praising the visual effects, direction, cinematography and performances. It grossed $83 million at the worldwide box office and won numerous international awards, including three Academy Awards, three BAFTA Awards including Best Film Not in the English Language, the Ariel Award for Best Picture, the Saturn Awards for Best International Film and Best Performance by a Younger Actor for Ivana Baquero and the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.In 1944 Francoist Spain, ten-year-old Ofelia travels with her pregnant but sickly mother Carmen to meet Captain Vidal, her new stepfather. Vidal, the son of a famed commander who died in Morocco, believes strongly in Falangism and has been assigned to hunt down republican rebels. A large stick insect, which Ofelia believes to be a fairy, leads Ofelia into an ancient stone labyrinth, but she 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 into a fairy and leads her through the labyrinth. There, she meets a faun, who believes she is the reincarnation of Princess Moanna. He gives her a book and tells her she will find in it three tasks to complete in order for her to acquire immortality and return to her kingdom.During this time, Ofelia quickly becomes aware of Vidal's ruthlessness in the course of hunting down the rebels. After he erroneously murders two local farmers detained on suspicion of aiding the rebels, Vidal interrogates and tortures a captive rebel. He asks Doctor Ferreiro to tend to the captive, whom Ferreiro then euthanises at the rebel's own urging. Realising that Ferreiro is a rebel collaborator, Vidal kills him. Vidal later catches Ofelia tending to the mandrake root, which he considers delusional. Carmen agrees and throws the root into the fire. She immediately develops painful contractions and dies giving birth to Vidal's son.The faun suggests drawing a small amount of the baby's blood, as completing the third task and opening the portal to the underworld requires the blood of an innocent, but Ofelia refuses to harm her brother. Vidal finds her talking to the faun, whom he cannot see. The faun leaves, and Vidal takes the baby from Ofelia's arms before shooting her. Vidal returns to the labyrinth's entrance, where he is surrounded by rebels, including Mercedes and Pedro. Knowing that he will be killed, he hands the baby to Mercedes and asks that she tell his son the exact time of his death. Mercedes refuses, telling him that his son will not even know his name. Pedro then shoots Vidal dead.Mercedes enters the labyrinth and comforts a motionless but breathing Ofelia. Drops of Ofelia's blood fall down the centre of the spiral stone staircase onto an altar. Ofelia, well dressed and uninjured, then appears in a golden throne room. The King of the underworld tells her that, by choosing to spill her own blood rather than that of another innocent, she passed the final test. The faun praises Ofelia for her choice, addressing her once more as "Your Highness". The Queen of the underworld, her mother, invites Ofelia to sit next to her father and rule at his side. Back in the stone labyrinth, Ofelia smiles as she dies in Mercedes' arms.In a fairy tale, Princess Moanna, whose father is the king of the underworld, visits the human world, where the sunlight blinds her and erases her memory. She becomes mortal and eventually dies. The king believes that eventually, her spirit will return to the underworld, so he builds labyrinths, which act as portals, around the world in preparation for her return.Ofelia completes the first task — retrieving a key from the belly of a giant toad — but becomes worried about her mother, whose condition is worsening. The faun gives Ofelia a mandrake root, instructing her to keep it under Carmen's bed in a bowl of milk and regularly supply it with blood, which seems to ease Carmen's illness. Accompanied by three fairy guides and equipped with a piece of magic chalk, Ofelia then completes the second task — retrieving a dagger from the lair of the Pale Man, a child-eating monster. Although warned not to consume anything there, she eats two grapes, awakening the Pale Man. He devours two of the fairies and chases Ofelia, but she manages to escape. Infuriated at her disobedience, the faun refuses to give Ofelia the third task.Mercedes, having been discovered to be a spy, tries to escape with Ofelia, but they are caught. Ofelia, mistaken as a traitor, is locked in her bedroom, while Mercedes is taken to be interrogated and tortured. Mercedes frees herself, stabs Vidal, and re-joins the rebels. The faun, having changed his mind about giving Ofelia a chance to perform the third task, returns and tells her to bring her newborn brother into the labyrinth to complete it. Ofelia successfully retrieves the baby and flees into the labyrinth. Vidal pursues her as the rebels launch an attack on the outpost. Ofelia meets the faun at the centre of the labyrinth.The epilogue completes the tale of Princess Moanna, stating that she returned to the Underworld, ruled wisely for many centuries, and left quiet traces of her time in the human realm "visible only to those who know where to look."InfluencesThe idea for Pan's Labyrinth came from Guillermo del Toro's notebooks, which he says are filled with "doodles, ideas, drawings and plot bits". He had been keeping these notebooks for twenty years. At one point during production, he left the notebook in a taxi in London and was distraught, but the cabbie returned it to him two days later. Though he originally wrote a story about a pregnant woman who falls in love with a faun,Sergi López said that del Toro described the final version of the plot a year and a half before filming. Lopez said that "for two hours and a half he explained to me all the movie, but with all the details, it was incredible, and when he finished I said, 'You have a script?' He said, 'No, nothing is written'". López agreed to act in the movie and received the script one year later; he said that "it was exactly the same, it was incredible. In his little head he had all the history with a lot of little detail, a lot of characters, like now when you look at the movie, it was exactly what he had in his head".Del Toro got the idea of the faun from childhood experiences with "lucid dreaming". He stated on The Charlie Rose Show that every midnight, he would wake up, and a faun would gradually step out from behind the grandfather's clock.Originally, the faun was supposed to be a classic half-man, half-goat faun fraught with beauty. But in the end, the faun was altered into a goat-faced creature almost completely made out of earth, moss, vines, and tree bark. He became a mysterious, semi-suspicious relic who gave both the impression of trustworthiness and many signs that warn someone to never confide in him at all.Del Toro has said the film has strong connections in theme to The Devil's Backbone and should be seen as an informal sequel dealing with some of the issues raised there. Fernando Tielve and Íñigo Garcés, who played the protagonists of The Devil's Backbone, make cameo appearances as unnamed guerrilla soldiers in Pan's Labyrinth. Some of the other works he drew on for inspiration include Lewis Carroll's Alice books, Jorge Luis Borges' Ficciones, Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan and The White People, Lord Dunsany's The Blessing of Pan, Algernon Blackwood's Pan's Garden and Francisco Goya's works. In 2004, del Toro said: "Pan is an original story. Some of my favourite writers (Borges, Blackwood, Machen, Dunsany) have explored the figure of the god Pan and the symbol of the labyrinth. These are things that I find very compelling and I am trying to mix them and play with them."It was also influenced by the illustrations of Arthur Rackham.Del Toro wanted to include a fairy tale about a dragon for Ofelia to narrate to her unborn brother. The tale involved the dragon, named Varanium Silex, who guarded a mountain surrounded by thorns, but at its peak is a blue rose that can grant immortality. The dragon and the thorns ward off many men though, who decide it is better to avoid pain than to be given immortality. Although the scene was thematically important, it was cut short for budget reasons.There are differing ideas about the film's religious influences. Del Toro himself has said that he considers Pan's Labyrinth "a truly profane film, a layman's riff on Catholic dogma", but that his friend Alejandro González Iñárritu described it as "a truly Catholic film". Del Toro's explanation is "once a Catholic, always a Catholic," however he also admits that the Pale Man's preference for children rather than the feast in front of him is intended as a criticism of the Catholic Church.Additionally, the priest's words during the torture scene were taken as a direct quote from a priest who offered communion to political prisoners during the Spanish Civil War: "Remember my sons, you should confess what you know because God doesn't care what happens to your bodies; He already saved your souls."In regards to whether or not the fantasy underworld was real or a product of Ofelia's imagination, del Toro stated in an interview that, while he believes it is real, the movie "should tell something different to everyone. It should be a matter of personal discussion". He then mentioned there were several clues in the movie indicating the underworld was indeed real.The film was shot in a Scots Pine forest situated in the Guadarrama mountain range, Central Spain. Guillermo Navarro, the director of photography, said that "after doing work in Hollywood on other movies and with other directors, working in our original language in different scenery brings me back to the original reasons I wanted to make movies, which is basically to tell stories with complete freedom and to let the visuals really contribute to the telling of the story".
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