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inacessible mother earth
A gothic fable for twentieth century
Feb 25, 2007 06:52 AM 1389 Views
(Updated Mar 22, 2007 03:24 PM)





Director /guillermo del toro

producer /alfonso cuaron

language /spanish

duration 140 minutes

country    made in mexico


sergei lopez      colonel vidal

ivana baquero  ofelia

doug jones -      the faun

ariadne gil-        carmen

maribel verdu-  mercedes

this is a true  masterpiece, neveretheless a dark one, almost a nightmre, where reality merges into fantasy and truth mingles with blatant lies but triumphs in the end .

this  world of the labyrinth comprises two parallel universes.

one is the fantasy world of ofelia, an 8 year old girl who is uprooted after the death of her father and her mothers second marriage [played by ariadne gil ] to move in with a tyrannical army officer brilliantly done by sergei lopez as colonel vidal, this world is the labyrinth inhabited by the girls fantasies, its the labyrinth in the grounds of the huge mansion which serves as the playground and the key player is the faun [doug jones], who is an imaginary elf in ofelias  dreams and leads her into the labyrinth, so she can find the truth .

but the parallel  universe is the harsh reality of francos spain where the militia and revolutionaries are still fighting on, with disastrous atrocities being comitted by the establishment in the setting of  a small mountain village with ofelias stefpfather[colonel vidal ]in charge who is  a master at acts of torture and murder against the locals, you are shown two innocent men being executed in the most apalling manner  right at the start for hunting a rabbit to feed thir starving family.

The  colonel  is married to carmen [ofelias mother ],  expecting his child, the story revolves around ofelia [who] builds  a fantasy world to escape the ugly reality thrust upon her by her mothers marriage,

she tells stories which are her fables  to her sibling in the womb of her mother as the movie unfolds, this is our labyrinth as well as hers .and its ugly, comparisons to alice in wonderland are inevitable, yet this is a gothic dream rather then an edwardian fairytale,

but while both are magical, this  is more of  a nightmare, and what a nightmare, a childs mind is observing the ugly world we have created around us.

special effects and superb cinimatography [by guillermo navarro and sfx by ddt fx]creates weird monsters .the faun, giant toads, creepy bugs, elves, fairies and devils galore and they all are artistic yet  genuine enough to be convincing, so relevant unlike the sfx circus of hollywood .

the struggle between good and evil is not the point here, as the last  immortal dialogue indicates, when the child is ushered into heaven after being murdered by her step father, the evil colonel, [in a harrowing scene where she is shot point blank and lies bleeding to her death at the brink of a well as her blood drips silently into the water as a mataphor for the crucification of christ ]

the immortal lines uttered by her imaginary parents from her fantasy are

"you won because  instead of spilling an innocents blood you chose to spill your own "

what a great message to todays  troubled humanity where innocent blood is being spilt every day

how many of us are capable of this ultimate sacrifice

and its an eight year old girl who accomplishes the miracle, the gifted ivana baquero

the performances by the evil colonel and  the young girl are the backbone  of this magnificent fable but the support from the pregnant wife, the rebel leader and his sister who is a spy in the colonels household mercedes[played by maribel verdu]are equally brilliant, as is the faun,

but its the director writer who finally weaves the magical spell, de toro is indeed a tower of genius [toro means tower in espanol]its small details which mesmerize the viewer,

he shows a watch smashed by a dying general to indicate  whether time  is real or virtual or does it come to an end when our own existence ceases .

the movie is in spanish but its universal in theme

my dilemma is why it won three oscars and yet was denied the best ferign movie category, it was not in running for best picture in main category as its in spanish, can anyone answer, every newspaper /critic has labelled it as a controversial decision but then injustice is what the movie depicts, so ironically this  decision by the academy reiforces the theme

and lets celebrate the good in humanity this movie portrays in such a unique and aesthetic way with style galore, a true dark masterpiece

my favourite scene is where ofelia  refuses to hand over her  new born infant brother to  the faun  for a ritual sacrifice in exchange for an eternity of ecstasy,

yet then comes the shock, as it is revealed that  god and devil are one and working together to test humanity, as she is applauded on her entry into heaven, you realise the devil [the faun]was only doing his duty in misleading her by tempting her towards evil, on gods own instruction s

what a concept and what a marvellous execution  , for infinity and eternity, indeed

you wont want  to leave this labyrinth, id rather be lost there then in this ugly world we live in today,

yet parables like these deliver a glimmer of hope for us mere mortals

thanks for reading do feel free to comment

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