551, 666, 838 Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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bunuelian
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#51 Post by bunuelian » Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:37 pm

Count me among the disappointed. I agree with everyone that the performances are good and the visuals nice, but the film defeats itself with its "fyi, the fascists sucked" obviousness. Every time the noble republicans come ambling out of the forest looking like they're on holiday to provide the only adult loving relationship in the film (and a "pure" one between a brother and sister), there's just too much beating of the dead horse for my taste. If the film were set in Baghdad, I might care more.

The faun was distractingly overwrought.

I think my reaction to the film is largely coming from my visceral distaste for watching people get shot and mutilated just for the sake of sickening the audience. It's not hard to get under the audience's skin with this sort of stuff, and all the relentless misery in the real world does eventually work to make the viewer long for the fantasy elements to come back. A lot of the suffering in the film never touches our hero (the civil war elements) but they do impact us. But the story didn't need to involve torture to be emotionally effective, and seemed more manipulative for it. The stutterer was utterly pointless, for example.

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Michael
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#52 Post by Michael » Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:58 pm

The stutterer was utterly pointless, for example.
And I was also thinking about that captain shaving. We get not one shot but three or four shots of that littered throughout the film. I couldn't figure out why Del Toro bothered with that. There has to be something important to those shaving shots because each one goes on for more than at least 30 seconds. Am I missing something?

portnoy
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#53 Post by portnoy » Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:11 pm

Agreed that the political project of the film is simple and kinda turgid - I sadly don't expect my latter-day historical melodramas to provide riveting nuance, but the film definitely doesn't entirely work for me. The movie I kept thinking of whenever the Capitan was on-screen was Witchfinder General - the villain here is also completely over-the-top in his sadism, perhaps even more so, and there's certainly a baldly political sentiment to the film, but there's so much less a conscious prestigiousness to the proceedings that it doesn't come across as trying to affect a rich understanding.

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Michael
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#54 Post by Michael » Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:07 pm

Michael love your new avatar. Im the guy on the other side of the wall
I know the feeling. But I had to replace that stud with Solveig Dommartin after learning her recent death. I'm devastated.

But I will bring the stud back when the new DVD of Un Chant d'Amour comes out next month. Promise.

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Michael
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#55 Post by Michael » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:57 pm

Pan's Labyrinth still lingers with me since I saw it last weekend. I have no clue why. I'm trying to examine my initial disappointment and I noticed that the way the film was promoted had me expect it to be something else. The film appeared to be a fantasy with a young girl who tried to hide away from the war. I mean the fantasy in the same sense as The Wizard of Oz (Stephen King called Pan's the best fantasy since Oz), Alice in the Wonderland, and the sublime Spirited Away - the girl falls into the fantasy world and emerges as a changed person - a hero that is - in the end. Pan's is nothing like those films. I think I was misled and that probably has a lot to do with my disappointment. I still have no idea if Ofelia is a hero or not. Plus I was thrown out by the film's uncompromisingly depressing tone. Watching this film on a 6-story-high screen didn't help.. it felt like being stuck inside the womb of the films sticky darkness with no way out. Days after seeing it, the film is starting to gel inside my mind.

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souvenir
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#56 Post by souvenir » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:45 pm

Good to hear. I think it's a fine film, refreshingly unlike most anything released recently. In today's age of hyper-analyzing every last detail of every last thing sometimes we lose sight of the importance of instinct and reflection removed from the initial viewing, which often is met by pre-conceived notions that aren't the fault of the film itself.

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Michael
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#57 Post by Michael » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:00 pm

Absolutely, souvenir. I plan to watch this film again soon. Only when I'm in the right mood because it's really a devastating film. I can't believe I unfairly attacked Pan's. I think I was also looking for other excuses to pan Pan's when I was so pissed off at Del Toro for what he did to the girl in the end. Shame on me.

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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#58 Post by toiletduck! » Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:22 pm

Michael wrote:I think I was also looking for other excuses to pan Pan's when I was so pissed off at Del Toro for what he did to the girl in the end.
I'm not gonna spoiler tag this whole post, so:

**************SPOILERS**************

Can you elaborate on this at all, Michael? Was it mainly Ofelia's death that upset you, or was there something else as well? I also was torn by the ending, and it's the one part that seems to have really stuck with me, but it doesn't seem like our reactions were terribly similar. The ending initially pissed me off because I read it as a fantasy world equals heaven allegory, which doesn't sit well with me in a variety of ways, not the least being that I can (and do) concoct the finest of fantasy worlds without even the slightest concern for or belief in heaven.

But, after mulling for a few hours, I think the ending reads, to me, more in the vein of relief, not so much in the sense of the afterlife, but in Ofelia's ability to take comfort in this fantasy world, whether real or imagined (a question which I love is never answered), for the last few seconds of her otherwise oppressive life. A life which wasn't going to get any easier for her had she lived; the defeat of Captain Vidal is a very minor victory in the greater story of a (now) orphan in Franco-era Spain.

I was also initially disappointed that a stronger parallel wasn't made between Ofelia and Mercedes. Almost right off the bat, I saw Mercedes as Ofelia grown up, a connection which only strenghtened upon the reveal of Mercedes' brother. However, reflecting back with this post, I think del Toro's choice to use Mercedes as a vision of Ofelia's potential (but unrealized) future is much stronger. As noble of a character as Mercedes is, I don't know that I can necessarily wish that same fate upon Ofelia, especially knowing what Ofelia's last moments on earth were like -- even if only to her, because I doubt that Mercedes will ever reach a place so blissful before she dies.

-Toilet Dcuk

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Michael
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#59 Post by Michael » Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:52 pm

SPOILERS

------------

Whew, that's pretty chewy. I really need to see Pan's again but then I don't know if I'll be ever in the right mood to watch it considering how devastating it is. I remain confused by what Del Toro is trying to say in the film other than the same old "war is shit" thing. After attacking the film on here, my worry of being unfair to the film grew more and more so I decided to come back here in hope to find some new nuggets of enlightenment or something. But really... the film is visually overwhelming. I love how it was shot almost completely in the dark (not easy to accomplish especially this beautiful). Visceral acting by everyone, especially Ofelia and Mercedes. I really really wanted to love it. I think something has to do with "innocent blood" that needs to be shed and it happens to be Ofelia's. I was taken by the film's visuals that the story and its symbols and meanings got lost on me.

This film unexpectedly sneaking up on me days after is forcing me to re-evualate my initial feelings and thoughts and of course, the film itself.

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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#60 Post by Carson Dyle » Sat Jan 27, 2007 11:35 pm

I thought Pan's was a beautiful film. It's so depressing (as opposed to sad) because ultimately the only thing Ofelia could rely upon was her imagination. It reminded me a lot of Night of the Hunter and it's theme of children abiding and enduring…

SPOILER

Or at least attempting to, in this case. The fact that Ofelia's fantasy didn't lead to her salvation violated the "rules." And I think people who are undecided as to whether or not the fantasy world was real are grasping at straws so as not to feel overwhelmingly depressed by the experience. I'm fairly certain that Captain Vidal not seeing Pan was supposed to indicate that it was all in Ofelia's head.

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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#61 Post by jorencain » Sat Jan 27, 2007 11:56 pm

Carson Dyle wrote:I thought Pan's was a beautiful film. It's so depressing (as opposed to sad) because ultimately the only thing Ofelia could rely upon was her imagination. It reminded me a lot of Night of the Hunter and it's theme of children abiding and enduring…

SPOILER

Or at least attempting to, in this case. The fact that Ofelia's fantasy didn't lead to her salvation violated the "rules." And I think people who are undecided as to whether or not the fantasy world was real are grasping at straws so as not to feel overwhelmingly depressed by the experience. I'm fairly certain that Captain Vidal not seeing Pan was supposed to indicate that it was all in Ofelia's head.
Yeah, I thought it was clear that it's all in her imagination, and that it's her only escape from the harshness of reality. And while that IS depressing, from our perspective, it also shows the power of imagination and how people can cope with terrible situations. My reaction was pretty lukewarm to the film, though, and I don't think I'll have a desire to see it again. I saw it the same weekend I saw "Children of Men" and "INLAND EMPIRE", and I would definitely rate it below those two.

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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#62 Post by Carson Dyle » Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:11 am

Children of Men is the American (American-financed?) film of the decade as far as I'm concerned. That doesn't diminish my love for Pan's.

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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#63 Post by toiletduck! » Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:59 am

Carson Dyle wrote:And I think people who are undecided as to whether or not the fantasy world was real are grasping at straws so as not to feel overwhelmingly depressed by the experience. I'm fairly certain that Captain Vidal not seeing Pan was supposed to indicate that it was all in Ofelia's head.
Not that I'm arguing against your reading of the film at all (I'm really not) or even disagreeing with it (ok, I am a little), but "grasping at straws" is kind of a cynical way to put it.

You obviously don't put stock in the existence of such creatures. Fair enough, that's how you feel -- certainly not a judgment call on my part. Personally speaking, if you would ask me about the existence of fairies? I'm not about to leap to arms that they're real, but I'm a lot more hesitant to deny them than I would be to deny an idea of heaven and hell. It may very well be a way for me to find good and comfort in a world that often seems to oppose such values -- it may also be the fact that I'm not entirely sober at the moment, -- but nevertheless, I hope to never be able to say with any degree of certainty that my fantasies are not real.

My point? For anyone who connects with Ofelia on that level, it's very important that an answer to the reality of the fantasy is not given, because for us, Ofelia's death would leap from tragic to wrist-slittingly depressing if it were revealed to all be a sham. I don't know if that's overly sensitive, naive, childish, or just plain silly, but in an instance such as this, those are all things I am willing to risk being at the realization within that while all might not be right in the world, there are pockets of happiness that are beyond corruption. And I get a very distinct feeling that del Toro is of the same breed. The man eats, drinks, and sleeps fantasy; you can't do that without an ability to earnestly believe in it as well. Which is exactly why I think the question is never answered (which it isn't -- Vidal not being able to see the faun isn't much for proof; he's obviously too far removed from any sense of innocence to count in this sort of twisted fairy logic); the idea of a fantasy only truly works if one is never quite sure about its connection to reality.

-Toilet Dcuk

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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#64 Post by Carson Dyle » Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:31 pm

"Grasping at straws" probably was a cynical way of putting it. But...

SPOILERS

We never trust Pan's motives. We never fully root for Ofelia to succeed in her tasks because we're unsure what the ultimate reward is going to be. I didn't feel exhilarated or relieved that she "succeeded." And lastly, that image Del Toro begins the film with pretty much tells us we're watching the story of
SpoilerShow
a dead girl.
My cynical brain doesn't know how else to interpret the film.

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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#65 Post by Teeeeom » Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:16 pm

I was disappointed by the film as well. One, the whole fantasy subplot just didn't do anything for me. The 'orphaned princess' storyline came off as a contrived and awkward way to bring fantasy into the film and really gave me no sympathy for Ofelia. I understand that it is her escape from the harsh reality, but she really didn't seem to be that affected by what the Capitan was doing. She was too busy absorbed with completing these irrelevant selfish tasks from the Faun so she could live for eternity as a princess in a fantasy land. I have read of the allegorical ties of these tasks to the civil war etc., but frankly they don't interest me.

I usually don't see watch fantasy films like this. The closest films I've seen to this are The City of Lost Children and Labyrinth, both of which are entertaining, yet ultimatley lack any substance to draw me in. The only reason I decided to see it was because of the rave reviews.

Overall, the film just seems to be stock situations (oppressive father figure, adjusting to/living with harshness of reality, the isolation of childhood) coated with fantasy and decent acting. Nothing profound, nothing special. I gave it a 6/10.

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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#66 Post by toiletduck! » Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:41 am

Carson Dyle wrote:My cynical brain doesn't know how else to interpret the film.
Apologies if my post sounded insulting, my tone was a little off-kilter.

I agree that the film is tragic, but for me the difference between (and perhaps point of) the opening shot and the end of the film is that the context of Ofelia's life and death provides an ever so slight gleam of hope because at least her death delivered her to a place where she can finally feel relief, regardless of whether or not that place really exists. From our perspective, yeah, it kinda sucks. But for Ofelia -- she died far happier than her lot in life should have allowed. I can take a bittersweet sense of both exhilaration and relief in her succeeding on that account.

But I also tend to be hopeful to a literal fault. Different strokes, I suppose.

-Toilet Dcuk

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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#67 Post by Carson Dyle » Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:21 am

TD, your post wasn't insulting. And reading what you last wrote, I think I see your point. If Ofelia could at least take a meaure of comfort from her fantasy world, there is indeed a less bleak way of reading the film. Slightly less bleak, anyway.

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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#68 Post by Michael » Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:14 am

It reminded me a lot of Night of the Hunter and it's theme of children abiding and enduring…
Carson, have you seen Curse of the Cat People? It strikes a lot of similarities to Night of the Hunter - the wierd Americana seen through a child's eyes and so forth. I think you will love this amazing, odd film. Both films even end on Christmas day!

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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#69 Post by John Cope » Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:08 pm

Teeeeom wrote: I have read of the allegorical ties of these tasks to the civil war etc., but frankly they don't interest me.
And they don't really interest Del Toro either and that's the trouble.

I wasn't enthused by this one either, though I certainly didn't hate it. I think it probably does exactly what was intended, I simply don't see that much profundity there. And I couldn't help but think of movies that explored these same sort of subjects better--not just the obvious Spirit of the Beehive but also the great, underappreciated Closet Land, I'm Not Scared and even 1984's Cloak and Dagger. That last one still resonates with me twenty odd years later because it didn't simply posit the idea of escape into fantasy or the parallels between two worlds but also the profound and complex idea that to be immersed completely in any world would ultimately conjure up the same notions of loss and pain--that these notions are so integral to us as humans that they can't be wished away or transcended. They must be dealt with.

Pan's Labyrinth shoots for something similar but fumbles the ball by making everything that has the potential for nuance and insight startlingly overt. For awhile I was pleased that the faun and the captain were being drawn as similar figures, until the godawful moment at the end when the faun blows up at Ofelia and everything is spelt out in bold letters. Does Del Toro really not trust us that much? And yet, even as I say that I am not sure it's fair to argue the point because I get the feeling that none of these choices were made casually or without considerable thought. It's all of a piece after all and the intent is clearly to create a narrative that functions as a fairy tale. But I'm not sure who it's for as it's far too brutal for kids (on this I'm sure many will disagree) and it's far too prosaic for adults (I assume).

The real problem is what I mentioned above. Del Toro is nowhere near as interested in the social metaphors or political metaphors or any kind of metaphysic beyond the rudimentary as he is in his scary monsters. And that's great. I loved Blade 2 and that's the kind of thing he does best. Understand I'm not trying to enforce a marginalization but he has given me no reason to think that his "serious" pieces are inherently worthy of real reflection and consideration. Devil's Backbone was probably better than this but even that was marred by the hysterical caricatures at its heart. Still, if he's just trying to make a basic fable I can accept that. And it isn't disagreeable on that basis, I guess. I just disagree with this implicit assumption on the part of many that he's given us something groundbreaking and profoundly meaningful. Mark Kermode's enthusiasm, for instance, is beyond me.

This is all very similar to the excessive praise given Peter Jackson's forays into "serious" art or humanistic cinema. If he's so damn serious where are the seeds of that in Meet the Feebles? He's another good example. Lord of the Rings only ever came alive at the end when he dropped the absurd pretense and got down to the business of scary rubber monsters where his true enthusiasm lies. And you know it lies there because those sections have an unrestrained vitality that the plodding rest can't begin to match. What's so terrible about these guys sticking to what they do best? Why is there this gratitude for these forays into superficial profundity? Our society, apparently, feels most comfortable heralding the "insights" of comic book geeks.

As to the above argument in regards to the ending...

I don't see much value in struggling with it as no matter what Del Toro had done by this point our method of viewing this material was already well established and, given the schematic nature of his allegory, it was never going to transcend a dichotomous reading. Either her fantasies are a pure coping device and they die with her and we're left with the reality of human viciousness as a triumphant, pure constant or she's basically in heaven (I'm more inclined toward the former as we see her die after her last "vision"). Both of these readings are pretty banal really and don't begin to approach a decent engagement with the metaphysical issues Del Toro is supposedly raising. Contrast this (foolishly, I know) with the end of King Lear in which we are given a glimpse of what can only be described as "eschatological hope" (not wish fulfillment) and the importance of that hope completely dismantles the inherent value in the tragic wisdom of accepting "reality". One could argue, I suppose, that Del Toro's suggesting that an investment in hopeful illusion is a necessary combat strategy and it also endures, as we see in that last image. But to say that on it's own is not exactly entering Terrence Malick territory. It's a triumphal assertion of not very much and one that has little greater resonance. It's true that strength and character are forged under the worst of circumstances and yet this isn't particularly insightful either.

As I said, moments which could have contributed to a more complex understanding do exist here but are passed over in such a way as to lead one to almost suspect that Del Toro himself didn't even orchestrate them or was unaware of their existence. Here I'm thinking specifically of the rebel ambush scene, at the end of which we see one of the rebels unload his gun into one of the fascists in the same way we've been seeing the fascists behave throughout. You barely catch that moment though as the camera is already panning away as it's happening. Actually, if I believed for a second that Del Toro was cognizant of the implications of moments like these I'd be happy to argue that this is exactly how to present them, almost elided on the edges of the frame. But this isn't Code Inconnu and the landslide of heavy handedness on offer in Pan's Labyrinth effectively cancels out any such attempts at nuance anyway. Please see the infinitely superior Good German for an example of how to take up issues of human complicity with evil and emerge with a powerful, persuasive account.

I have to add this. I appreciated toiledcuk's views on this movie but I just don't get his resistance to the idea of "heaven" as such. Presuming he views this as just another, interchangeable fantasy realm or sphere than why is it singled out as an implausible one? I would guess that the dcuk's problem here has something to do with the codification of ideas of "heaven", am I right? But for me the fact that it emerges from a traditional constant reifies it as a worthy subject of discourse, after more subjective realms pass away. This is not to say that "heaven" is some locked down concept, either. This is a false impression. It's an epistemological starting point, a nexus for philosophical reflection that is informed and expanded upon by centuries of the same. I, for one, certainly don't expect any kind of extension of our present conceptualization of self in some other realm (though I discount nothing) but I believe that because I also believe that the modern visions of an afterlife are poorly informed by a desiccated understanding of traditional teachings and philosophical reflection. Currently, the default idea is one that privileges the prominence of ego and individual experience at a disconnect from cosmic unity. Heaven, in my understanding, is strictly poetic, but no less valid for being so--a participation in the divine through the cognitive acknowledgement of a metaphysical truth. As has been said elsewhere "If there are locks on the doors of hell, they are on the inside".

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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#70 Post by Carson Dyle » Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:31 pm

Michael wrote: Carson, have you seen Curse of the Cat People? It strikes a lot of similarities to Night of the Hunter - the wierd Americana seen through a child's eyes and so forth. I think you will love this amazing, odd film. Both films even end on Christmas day!
No, I've never seen it, but I'm going to Netflix it right now. Thanks for the recommendation.

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#71 Post by toiletduck! » Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:01 pm

Ah, John... Thank you for calling me on that, I need to stay on my toes.

My references to heaven and hell were intended in the purely stereotypical monotheistic "were you a good boy this year?" style of post-mortem reward system. An upbringing in the staunchly Christian heartland of America brings about some unfortunate habits, including that sort of assumption.

Also, thank you for your insight into the rest of the film, including fleshing out a few points that were yet inklings in my mind (an adverse reaction to the faun's outburst, for example). And, again, much of my defense of del Toro's work here is more a defense of fantasy itself rather than del Toro's employment of it, which I certainly didn't disenjoy, but was also hardly glued to my seat.

John, did you ever have an opportunity to see Tideland? I would be quite curious as to your thoughts in the appropriate thread -- as I've already mentioned, that was a young girl's foray into dark fantasy that did have me riveted, but I'd like to hear another take on the contrasts between the two.

-Toilet Dcuk

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#72 Post by John Cope » Wed Jan 31, 2007 3:00 pm

toiletduck! wrote:John, did you ever have an opportunity to see Tideland? I would be quite curious as to your thoughts in the appropriate thread -- as I've already mentioned, that was a young girl's foray into dark fantasy that did have me riveted, but I'd like to hear another take on the contrasts between the two.
I haven't seen Tideland yet but I'm very anxious to. I'll be picking up the DVD in a couple weeks. I wasn't real crazy about the source text but I remember thinking while reading it that Gilliam would be the ideal director to adapt it and bring out its buried riches. The end of the book was the only part that I thought worked but it worked so well that it just about redeemed all the rest.

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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#73 Post by Bajaja » Sun Feb 04, 2007 2:14 pm

At the risk of not bringing anything new to the topic, I wish to express strong agreement with the critics of Pan's Labyrinth, such as bunuelian, Teeeeom, and John Cope. I might have been looking in the film for things that were not meant to be there, such as psychologism deeper than a cliche (evil stepfather/mother under his spell/redeemer from outside, deranged fascists/noble guerillas) or at least some dose of realism. By the latter I mean not only social, as Captain's interactions with other people that would be above simplified caricature, but also filmic: with all those wonderful CGI effects, night scenes looked like filmed by the old day-for-night technique; the "sunshine-for-rain" was also bothering me, as were the clean and creaseless uniforms of the soldiers. Arguably, these are just details, but the film did not seriously "gel" with me on any level. It simply pales in comparison with The Spirit of the Beehive, which is probably thematically closest, but I would further add to the (unfair?) comparison other dramas of antifascist resistance, such as Klimov's Come and See or Shepitko's Ascent.
It seems that out of the "big three" of the last year, which have been so extensively discussed on the forum (this, Babel and Children of Men), only the latter is worth seeing again.

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#74 Post by soma » Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:15 am

I stand by my statement. This film still haunts me two months later. I've made this my pick for the Best Film Of 2006.

I appreciate the insights shared on this page in particular, and I am of the standpoint that the fantasy world was indeed, Ofelia's own fantasy, a fantastical retreat from the grim realities of her existence. However I will add that I reject the, albeit good intentioned, but entirely elitist notion to over-intellectualise this film and films of its ilk in general. I do not come to a film like this to seek historical truths on the Spanish Civil War. But I am glad mentions of it were made, at least in the allegorical sense, as it does richen the overall experience.

What strikes me most about this film is its utter poeticism. It runs off the imagination like a beautiful, albeit dark, piece of poetry... a fine wine... a piece of music played in the darkness that induces goosebumps. It lilts and rolls and hums with a dark and transfixing rhythm, the flow of a fable; intoxified by its own permeated sense of mood, brilliant imagination and a story so bittersweet it leaves one both shattered and hopeful simultaneously.

For the record I thought Tideland was decidely average, bordering on garbage, and one of the worst films Terry Gilliam has ever made. And I consider myself a Gilliam fan. In response to my City Of Lost Children comment, although I do find that film to be a lesser beast than this, I find the same sense of poeticism in that film that I do here. The language and visuals are so bold and original and creatively inspiring and utterly captivating that they roll ashore like waves, free in their own right from the dramatic and narrative expectations one may wish to push upon them.

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#75 Post by Antoine Doinel » Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:52 pm

I finally saw this tonight and I came away from the film with the same feelings as soma. I found Pan's Labryinth as astonishgly accomplished fairy tale. I found Del Toro's pacing especially was brilliant, with each day (I think the film takes place over a course of four days) unfolding as a chapter. But soma pretty much hit the nail on the head for me. It's not about historical accuracy, but more about the methods - particularly used by children - that are used by children to survive horrific times. Del Toro film isn't about the Spanish Civil War, but merely uses it as a template and I don't think the film suffers for it.

I too am a big fan of The City Of Lost Children and this film resonated in the same way for me as well. Unashamedly fantastical, magical and beautiful. Definitely one of the best film's of 2006.

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