Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Definitely one of my favorite movies! A true work of art by Guillermo del Toro. A fairy tale for adults!

This movie touches upon the power of imagination as a way to cope with distress, trauma and loneliness. The story is set in 1944 Spain during the Francoist period. Ofelia is a 10 year old girl who travels deep into the forest with her pregnant and convalescent mother to meet her new step father. After arriving to her new home, Ofelia discovers that she is a fairy princess meant to return to her kingdom after completing three tasks. The movie alternates between Ofelia’s discoveries of a world beyond anyone’s imagination and the gruesome reality that she is facing living with a fascist (her step father) whose only interest is to have a son with or without a mother. While discovering her powers, Ofelia grows worried about her mother’s health and her own fate with the Captain if her mother were to die in child birth.

The story balances on a tight rope between mental illness and an amazing capacity for creativity, reminding us of the link between deep trauma and an active imagination. Perhaps this is why some of the greatest artists in history were also often tortured by their own demons. Pan’s labyrinth transports the viewer to an impossible world full of substance and amazing photography.

This is a dark fairy tale for grownups that brings about a complex array of emotions through a mix of the tragic plot and and a careful depiction of the fairy world.

Feel free to share your interpretation of this movie.

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