Sunday Matinee: Pan’s Labyrinth

Tomorrow is October 1st and I will begin another month of 31 Days of Horror. During the month of October there will be no Sunday Matinees but they will begin again in November. As I’m on a bit of Guillermo del Toro kick today’s Sunday Matinee is El laberinto del fauno aka Pan’s Labyrinth.

Pan’s Labyrinth is set in the 1940s after the Spanish Civil War. Young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) arrives at a small town with her very pregnant mother. Her new step-father is Captain Vidal (Sergi López) who is tasked with hunting down and executing rebels for the Franco regime. Ofelia loves fairy tales and finds a ancient stone labyrinth nearby but is stopped from going in by the housekeeper.

One night an insect comes to Ofelia and reveals itself to be a fairy. The fairy leads Ofelia through the labyrinth to a Faun. The Faun tells Ofelia that she is really the reincarnation of a princess from magical kingdom called the underworld. Many centuries ago the princess went to the surface and lost her way in the real world. In order for the princess to return to her kingdom Ofelia must complete three tasks. For the first task Ofelia has to get a key from the belly of giant toad. For the second task she must get a dagger from the Pale Man. Ofelia doesn’t obey the Faun when she does the second task and two fairies that were helping her are killed by the Pale Man.

Meanwhile Ofelia’s mother is having troubles with her pregnancy and Vidal keeps killing more and more rebels. Because of her failure with the Pale Man, the Faun refuses to give Ofelia her third task. Meanwhile Vidal discovers that Ofelia has a mandrake root in her mother’s room to help her mother with her pregnancy. When discovered Vidal declares it be delusional and Ofelia’s mother agrees and throws the root in the fire place burning it. Suddenly Ofelia’s mother to go into labour and sadly dies while giving birth to the baby. Ofelia feels lost but the housekeeper, really helping the rebels decides to escape from Vidal with Ofelia but both of them are captured. The Faun then tells Ofelia the third and final task.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a fantastically amazing movie. The film is a very dark fairy tale, at times almost a horror movie. It’s rich in myth and folklore with some amazingly beautiful cinematography, sets and fantastic creatures. The movie was nominated for several awards and won best cinematography, production design and make-up at the Oscars.