Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

This week I’m featuring a fantastic Mexican film from 2006, Pan’s Labyrinth. The film was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro (Blade II, Hellboy, Mimic), and stars Ivana Baquero, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, and Doug Jones, amongst others. Pan’s Labyrinth, set in post civil war Spain in 1944, is a dark fantasy film that follows young Ofelia (Baquero) as she discovers a mystical labyrinth in the woods near the mill she is forced to stay at by her evil stepfather. The film escalates quickly as Ofelia follows the instructions of a creature that calls itself a faun, and Ofelia’s storyline is constantly intertwined with that of the majority of the other characters; Spanish freedom fighters try to liberate themselves from the Army led by Captain Vidal (López). The film is very eerie and gripping throughout, mostly due to the dark atmosphere, subtle yet clever camerawork, and often quiet dialogue. A note on the dialogue; the film is all in Spanish, so be ready for subtitles! As for the cinematography, I absolutely love how this film was shot. The film utilizes empty space very well, really adding to the lonely attitude of Ofelia. Throughout the film there is a lot of subtle camera movement, as well as great transitions that often use pieces of the environment as transition points, pulling it off rather well at that. On top of the cinematography, the special effects are top notch; utilizing some computer generated effects on top of extraordinarily detailed makeup and animatronics. The film can be a bit gory in parts, and the makeup and acting for these parts are also quite extraordinary. There are a few cool still shots below that demonstrate some of the cinematography and special effects. Pan’s Labyrinth is a fairy tale film for adults in a lot of ways. The dark atmosphere and setting of the film really set it apart from most similar films (if one could even claim many films to be similar). The film in general is amazing, demonstrated by it’s three academy awards for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Makeup, as well as earning a whopping 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So basically, if you haven’t seen this film yet, go watch it as soon as possible! I’ll throw in a trailer at the bottom after the still shots.

An example of the amazing makeup work in the film.

Mid-transition shot

4 thoughts on “Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

  1. i just watched this for the first time fall semester and was absolutely blown away. i didn’t realize how gory and raw it would be, so that caught me completely off guard, but in a good way. really awesome pick. and the soundtrack is amazing.

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