Pan's Labyrinth Guillermo Del Toro

Pan's Labyrinth Guillermo Del Toro
Like the complex layers of symbol and metaphor that populate the fairytales it so richly draws from, Pan’s Labyrinth is a multiple viewing delight that rewards attention to minute detail as much as it delights in its surface offerings. And director Del Toro (Hellboy, The Devil’s Backbone) is as conscious of these layers as possibly any director working today - he manipulates colour palettes and symbolism as easily as he presents the very simplicity of a young girl battling the forces of good and evil, both in her fairytale land and in the harsh light of her "reality.” The film shifts between mid-’40s Spain, still ravaged by civil unrest as WWII winds down, and a magical world to which young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) is drawn by the fawn Pan. The visage of Pan ⎯ more monster scary than the cutesy half-goat half-man seen in many fairytales ⎯ is a classic example of the liberties Del Toro takes to make this fairytale more adult, scary and evocative. In the real world, the big bad wolf to Ofelia’s Red Riding Hood is Captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez), an officer in Spain’s reigning Fascist regime, who terrorises the women in young Ofelia’s life, including her mother and grandmother. This triptych is no coincidence — as Del Toro points out in one of a series of extremely interesting and insightful featurettes, symbols of three occur throughout the film, just one element over which he maintains strict control. His filmmaking style is contrasted with his two celebrated countrymen, Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel), in a funny, engaging round table with talk show host Charlie Rose, included here. Throughout his feature-length commentary and extras on design, colour and texture, and even special effects, Del Toro illustrates his specific choices and the interconnections that inform them to the point where one wants to not only check out previous features like Cronos and The Devil’s Backbone but brings fresh eyes to mainstream fare like Hellboy. Finding a director as talented is rare; discovering one as willing to examine his process as intimately is to enrol in a school of film history, fantasy storytelling and symbolism all at once. Pan’s Labyrinth stands as one of the great filmmaking accomplishments of our age. Plus: Directors notebook, marketing campaign, production stills, more. (Alliance Atlantis)