Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Must See



Have you ever had a dream that was so disturbingly intense that after you woke up it took some time to convince yourself it wasn't real? That's quite close to how you'll feel after seeing Pan's Labyrinth.

I won't put any spoilers here; I'll only say that all the positive hype surrounding this film is entirely warranted. Pan's Labyrinth is brutally beautiful, heart-wrenching and inspiring. And the real genuis of director Guillermo del Torro is how he created a film that has either a very happy ending or a terrible one, depending on what you want to believe.

After all, what is harder to comprehend - a hidden world of fairies and fauns or the horrors humans visit upon one another?

22 comments:

CJ said...

I tend not to go by Oscar hype. The first I'd heard of this movie was a couple of days ago but maybe that's because its a foreign film. It looks sort of creepy for a fairy tale.

mitzibel said...

Well, hell, have you ever read our own fairy tales? Ye gods. Abandoned women forever doomed to walk on knives, children baked in ovens, evil parents who abandon them in the woods, talking severed heads, abusive step-parents, child slavery, and more starvation, beatings, and gorey death than you can shake a coffin-shaped lunchbox at. And that's just the *modern* versions.

Suspect said...

Speaking of foreign films, one of the best movies I've seen is "The City of God" in Portuguese (with, of course, English subtitles). It's truly a must-watch, both because of the awesome script and the beyond-awesome, Tarantinoesque direction.

Morgan said...

CJ, I don't go by Oscar hype either and had planned to go see Pan's Labyrinth long before either the Oscars or the Golden Globes.

Exactly, Mitzibel. Even the old Grimm Fairy tales are darker than the sanitized versions our kids were raised on. And the modern ones are excellent. Have you read Angela Carter's "The Bloody Chamber?" One of the short stories from that book is the basis of one of my favorite movies, "The Company of Woloves."

Suspect, I haven't seen the "City of God." I'll have to do that.

CJ said...

I know fairy tales are dark but what I mean was that most of the ones made into movies aren't too scary because kids like to go see them. That's all I meant.

Morgan said...

CJ,
Pan's Labyrinth isn't billed as a kids' movie and I can't think of any parent who would take their child after reading the reviews or seeing the trailers.
If a person is going to see this movie expecting cute little fauns like the one in Narnia they're in for a shock. Pan, the faun in this movie, is really eerie-looking and some of the other characters are just plain scary, even to me, especially with eyes in the palms of its hands.
Personally, I think it's good for adults to have fairy tales like this. I don't think you can really outgrow them. I wish they'd make more.

mitzibel said...

Haven't read the Angela Carter book, but I have my full complement of Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's revisionist fairy tale series. Datlow did a compilation for children, "A Wolf At The Door", which I've been reading to the littl'un since she was still swimming in womb juice.
And yeah, you'd like to think nobody would take their kid to this flick, but I've read blogging mommies bitch and moan about how they had to leave "Sin City" because they were cussing too much for their FIVE YEAR OLDS.
Even the "for-kids" fairy tale movies can be pretty creepy. "Labrynth"? Eeeeew. If David Bowie started stalking *my* thirteen-year-old he'd get a goblin shoved right up his narrow ass. The torture contraption in "The Princess Bride" is enough to give an imaginative child nightmares for months. "The Secret of Nymh" creeped the right the hell out as a child. And what about "Legend"? Okay, that one didn't creep me out, but it did make me want to be a goth when I was like 12.

Morgan said...

Now see, I thought The Dark Crystal was really freaky. I still can't watch it. And you are so right about Labyrinth. And I was also creeped out by legend. Those goblin things were ugly. And what kind of asshole kills unicorns???
And yes, The Secret of Nymh is dark as well. That rat, Jenna, is quite the villian.
But have you seen "Company of Wolves," the movie I mentioned? I think you'd really like that, Mitzibel. It's a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. It's dark and very beautiful. Angela Landsbury is the grandmother and she is just awesome in it.
It's cool that we have the same taste in reading! I love Datlow and Windling! And Charles Vess is my favorite illustrator. I have some of his autographed comics from his "Ballad" series which was eventually turned into one of my favorite books, "The Book of Ballads." It's a lot of old ballads in graphic novel form. There's King Henry, the False Knight on the Road, Thomas the Rhymer, Tam-Lin, Barbara Allen and others. It is awesome.

Erik said...

Morgan beat me to mentioning The Dark Crystal. My brother and sister and I all slept in the same bed that night! I don't remember enough of it to know what I would think of it now.

mitzibel said...

Just moved it to the top of my Netflix queue!

Morgan said...

Awesome, Mitzibel. I can't wait to hear what you think of it. There's a web site that analyzes Company of Wolves. It has some spoilers in it so you might not want to view it until after you see the movie. The interesting thing is that you see many things twice and it's kind of fun to go back and watch it again later to see if you can pick them out. And the transformation sequences are excellent.
And the movie is full of practical wisdome: Never eat a windfall apple, never stray from the path, and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet. ;-)

Morgan said...

Erik, The Dark Crystal still scares me. But not enough to sleep with my sister. ;-)

Erik said...

Yeah, I wouldn't want to sleep with my sister either. Tho honestly, I really would like someone to share my bed. I've taken to sleeping somewhat diagonally to fill up some of the space.

Maybe I can hang out at the movie theater and stand by the doors of a scary movie and when a cute girl walks out that appears to have been scared I can offer to share the bed so she doesn't have any nightmares. Not much chance of working but you never know!

mitzibel said...

erik---if you leave sex out of it, it may work better than you'd ever imagine. I once had a downstairs neighbor, Badass (there were like 5 "Jason"s in our circle, so we had to rename some of them) who would occasionally knock on my door in the wee small hours and when I let him in would wordlessly strip to his underpants and crawl into my bed. No naughtiness happened, but lots of cuddling did, and I still consider it one of the most rewarding "arrangements" I've ever had.

Morgan said...

Mitzibel, I think the need for closeness and touching isn't gender-specific. Sex is important to both parties in a relationship, but so is just having someone to hold. "Badass" was lucky to have someone so understanding.
Erik, my heart goes out to you. I hope things turn around for you. But if you're looking for a scared girl to comfort it may pay for you to stand outside the theatre after Pan's Labyrinth. And it's not so much because it's scary. The movie addressed issues of family, love and loyalty so well that it really does make you feel like hugging someone afterwards.

Erik said...

Mizi, Morgan

That need for a caring touch is amazingly strong in all humans. Much more meaningful than sex in my opinion. Sex can be had whether you care or not, but a caring touch cant be had without the other carinf for you.

Somehow a 1 year old's touch doesn't do much for me. And anyways it is often a smack or a grab for my nose, ears or glasses.

Morgan said...

Erik, that's because the touches of a one-year old are exploratory. Babies love my long hair and every tot I hold tries to take some for a souvenier.
And that's so true what you way about the difference between sex and touch. I think we've cheapened sex so much in this society that it's largely lost its value as intimate expression. Maybe that's why some people value touch; we know it's harder to fake.

Erik said...

Maybe that's why some people value touch; we know it's harder to fake.

I'm thinking that touch is my "love language."

Morgan said...

Erik,
I think touch is everyone's love language, whether they be animal or human.
Kids and animals aren't ashamed to ask for it; most people aren't as open about what they need like you and Mitzibel's friend.
My little ones aren't shy about just asking to be held. And of course animals seem to understand the importance of closeness - the cat curls up in your lap, the dog begs to be petted...One of our ponies will come over and lay her head on your shoulder if you stand in the paddock long enough.
There have been studies that touch has health benefits, and while a good massage can probably be helpful for the touch-deprived, I don't think hiring someone to touch you therapeutically is an adequate substitute for being touched by someone who genuinely cares. I think it's those spontaneous, heartfelt touches that make a difference.

Billiam said...

Morgan, please pray for Shrub. He's in the hospital...

Morgan said...

Oh geesh. I sure will, Billiam. I hope it's nothing serious. I know how he struggles so. :-(

Anonymous said...

What you say about touch is so true. I'm not making excuses but I'm pretty sure my health problems, both mental and physical, are in some way to my lack of human companionship and touch. Of course it's kind of a viscious cycle. I'm afraid to go out so I can't meet people. And so I comfort myself with food which makes it worse since anyone I would meet would be put off by my appearance. I'm glad I have my dog but a fantasy of mine is just to be held by another person. I'm not talking about in a sexual way but in the way you and Erik and Mitzibel have described. And it wouldn't matter to me whether the holder is a man or a woman.
I'm not trying to get sympathy. Please don't think I am. I'm just in complete agreement.
God Bless You,
Margaret