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Pan's Labyrinth ( ) is a 2006 Spanish language fantasy film, written and directed by Mexicanmarker film-maker Guillermo del Toro. It was produced and distributed by the Mexican film company Esperanto Films.

Pan's Labyrinth takes place in Spain in May and June, 1944, after the Spanish Civil War, during the Franquistmarker repression. Also present is the main character Ofelia's fantasy world which centers around an overgrown abandoned labyrinth. Ofelia's stepfather, the Falangist Captain Vidal, viciously hunts the Spanish Maquis, guerrillas who fight against the Franco regime in the region, while Ofelia's pregnant mother grows increasingly ill. Ofelia meets several strange and magical creatures who become central to her story, leading her through the trials of the old labyrinth garden. The film employs make-up, animatronics and CGI effects to create its creatures.

Del Toro stated that he considers the story to be a parable, influenced by fairy tales, and that it addresses and continues themes related to his earlier film The Devil's Backbone (2001), to which Pan's Labyrinth is a spiritual successor, according to del Toro in his director's commentary on the DVD. The original Spanish title refers to the mythological fauns of Roman mythology, while the English title refers specifically to the faun-like Greek character Pan (as do the titles used in other languages, including German, Pans Labyrinth and French, Le Labyrinthe de Pan). However, del Toro has stated that the faun in the film is not Pan.

The film premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. It was released in the United Kingdom on November 24, 2006. In the United States and Canada, the film was given a limited release on December 29, 2006, with a wide release on January 19, 2007. Pan's Labyrinth has won numerous international awards, including three Academy Awards, the Ariel Award for Best Picture and the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. The movie was filmed in a Scots Pine forest situated in the Guadarrama mountain rangemarker, Central Spainmarker.

Plot

The movie opens with a fairy tale. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), a young girl who loves to read, lies on the ground bleeding, while the narration explains that long ago, Princess Moanna of the Underground Realm, curious about the world above, escaped to the Earth, where the sun blinded her and, forgetting her past, she weakened and died. Nonetheless, her father retains hope that her spirit will eventually return to him.

The story then cuts to post-Civil War Spainmarker in 1944, with Francisco Franco firmly in power. Ofelia is traveling with her pregnant mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil) to join Captain Vidal (Sergi López i Ayats), her new stepfather and father of Carmen's unborn child, at his post in the mountains where he is rooting out Spanish Maquis guerrillas.

Ofelia discovers a stick insect that she believes to be a fairy, which follows her to the mill where Vidal is stationed. She chases it into an ancient Labyrinth nearby, where she meets Vidal's housekeeper, Mercedes (Maribel Verdú), who treats her kindly but takes her home. Later that night, Ofelia overhears Mercedes and the local doctor conspiring to help the rebels. After waking her in the middle of the night, the insect appears in Ofelia's bedroom where it changes into a fairy and leads her outside and through the Labyrinth. There, she meets a Faun (Doug Jones), who says that he believes her to be the reincarnation of Princess Moanna. He gives her three tasks to complete before the full moon to ensure that her "essence is intact" so that she can return to her father's realm.

The faun gives Ofelia the Book of Crossroads, which explains her tasks.


Ofelia receives the first task of retrieving a key from the belly of a giant toad that lives deep beneath the roots of a fig tree. The tree is being eaten from inside by the toad, but Ofelia succeeds in killing the toad and retrieving the key. Ofelia is becoming more worried about her mother, who has been ordered to stay in bed as after an episode of severe bleeding. The faun tells Ofelia of a way to restore her mother to health: placing a mandrake root in a bowl of fresh milk underneath her bed. After carrying out the faun's prescription, Ofelia then undertakes the second task of using the key to retrieve an ornate dagger from the lair of the Pale Man (also played by Jones), a grotesque, child-eating monster who sits absolutely silent and motionless in front of a large feast. Although she was gravely warned not to consume anything, she eats two grapes, awakening the Pale Man, who eats two of her fairy friends and pursues her. She narrowly escapes by drawing an escape door with a piece of chalk. However, infuriated at her disobedience, the faun refuses to give her the third task.

Events upon Earth take an even grimmer turn as Vidal captures and brutally interrogates a rebel. The doctor, who has been staying with them to help Carmen, is ordered to tend the wounds of the tortured rebel, so that he can be interrogated further. Instead, at the rebel's request, the doctor euthanizes him. Vidal, in turn, kills the doctor for his disobedience and treachery. Meanwhile, Carmen goes into labor after Vidal discovers the mandrake root and burns it. She dies in childbirth, but delivers a healthy son. Vidal discovers that Mercedes is a spy, and he captures her and Ofelia as they attempt to escape. Ofelia is locked in her bedroom, and Mercedes is taken to be tortured; however, she frees herself using a hidden knife with which she stabs and gives Vidal a Glasgow smile, though it doesn't kill him. She then flees, but is caught. At the last moment, the rebels, her brother among them, arrive and rescue her.

The faun returns to Ofelia and gives her one more chance to prove herself. He tells her to take her baby half-brother into the Labyrinth. She then uses the magic chalk to escape her room and sneak into Vidal's room. She drugs Vidal and grabs her brother. A disoriented Vidal chases her through the Labyrinth while the rebels attack the mill and Mercedes searches for her. Upon reaching the center, the faun, wielding the ornate dagger that Ofelia had absconded with from the Pale Man's lair, menacingly explains that the portal to the Underworld will open only with the blood of an innocent, so she must hand him her brother. Ofelia refuses. The faun vociferously berates Ofelia for her disobedience, asking her if she was willing to give up her chance of being an immortal Princess to protect her infant brother. Ofelia says yes. The faun replies, "As you wish", then disappears. Vidal had been watching Ofelia appear to be talking to herself, and just as the faun disappears, Vidal approaches, forcibly takes the baby, and shoots Ofelia in the stomach. She falls to the ground, barely alive and bleeding.

When Vidal leaves the Labyrinth, the rebels and Mercedes are waiting for him. Realizing he will die, he calmly hands Mercedes the baby, and starts to request that they tell his son what time his father died, but Mercedes informs him that his son "will never even know his name". Mercedes' rebel brother shoots Vidal in the face, killing him.

Mercedes and the rebels enter the labyrinth to find Ofelia dying, in a reprise of the opening scene. While Ofelia's blood drips onto the altar that was the gateway into the Underworld, the scene flashes to a dream-like state: Ofelia is reunited with the king (Federico Luppi) (her deceased father, resurrected) and queen (her mother, alive again) of the underworld. The faun is there, as are the fairies. Ofelia learns that by sacrificing herself, instead of her brother, she has succeeded at the true final task, proving herself to be the Princess Moanna and achieving immortality. The moment Ofelia learns she is the Princess of the Underworld, she smiles; at that same instant, upon Earth, she dies. The movie ends hopefully, with the old fig tree in bloom again.

Cast

Actor Character Notes
Ivana Baquero Ofelia / Princess Moanna Protagonist
  • Del Toro says he was "scared shitless" in casting the right actress for the lead role, and that finding the 10-year-old Spanish actress was purely accidental. (The film was shot from June to October 2005, when she was 11). "The character I wrote was initially younger, about 8 or 9, and Ivana came in and she was a little older than the character, with this curly hair which I never imagined the girl having. But I loved her first reading, my wife was crying and the camera woman was crying after her reading and I knew hands down Ivana was the best actress that had shown up, yet I knew that I needed to change the screenplay to accommodate her age." Baquero says that del Toro sent her lots of comics and fairy tales to help her "get more into the atmosphere of Ofelia and more into what she felt". She says she thought the film was "marvelous", and that "at the same time it can bring you pain, and sadness, and scariness, and happiness".
Doug Jones Faun / Pale Man A strange, magical creature who guides Ofelia to the fantasy world.
  • Jones had worked with del Toro before on Mimic and Hellboy, and says the director sent him an email saying, "You must be in this film. No one else can play this part but you". Jones read an English translation of the script and was enthusiastic but then found out the film was in Spanish, which he did not speak. Jones says he was "terrified" and del Toro suggested learning the script phonetically, or dubbing his lines with a voice-over actor, but Jones rejected both ideas preferring to learn the words himself. He said, "I really, really buckled down and committed myself to learning that word for word and I got the pronunciation semi-right before I even went in", using the five hours a day he spent getting the costume and make-up on to practice the words. Del Toro decided afterwards that he still preferred to dub Jones with the voice of "an authoritative theatre actor", but Jones's efforts remained valuable because the voice actor was able to easily match his delivery with Jones's mouth movements.
Sergi López i Ayats Captain Vidal Ofelia's stepfather and the Falange officer.
  • Del Toro met with López in Barcelonamarker, a year and a half before filming began, to ask him to play Vidal. In Spain, López was considered a melodramatic or comedic actor, and the producers told Del Toro "You should be very careful because you don't know about these things because you're Mexican, but this guy is not going to be able to deliver the performance"; del Toro replied "Well, it's not that I don't know, it's that I don't care". Of his character, López said: "he is the most evil character I've ever played in my career. It is impossible to improve upon it; the character is so solid and so well written. Vidal is deranged, a psychopath who is impossible to defend. Even though his father's personality marked his existence — and is certainly one of the reasons for his mental disorder — that cannot be an excuse. It would seem to be very cynical to use that to justify or explain his cruel and cowardly acts. I think it is great that the film does not consider any justification of fascism."
Maribel Verdú Mercedes Vidal's housekeeper
  • Like López, Verdú was cast against type; usually playing a sex goddess, del Toro selected her to play the compassionate revolutionary because he "saw a sadness in her ... he thought would be perfect for the part".
Ariadna Gil Carmen Ofelia's mother and Vidal's wife
Alex Angulo Doctor Ferreiro Doctor in the service of Vidal who is anti-fascist.
Roger Casamajor Pedro Mercedes' brother, who is one of the rebels.
Manolo Solo Garcés One of Vidal's lieutenants
César Vea Serrano One of Vidal's lieutenants
Federico Luppi Rey
Pablo Adán Narrator / Faun (voice)


Production

Influences

The idea for Pan's Labyrinth came from Guillermo del Toro's notebooks, which he says are filled with "doodles, ideas, drawings and plot bits". He had been keeping these notebooks for twenty years. At one point during production, he left the notebook in a taxi in Londonmarker and was distraught, but the cabbie returned it to him two days later. Though he originally wrote a story about a pregnant woman who falls in love with a faun, Sergi López said that del Toro described the final version of the plot a year and a half before filming. Lopez said that "for two hours and a half he explained to me all the movie, but with all the details, it was incredible, and when he finished I said, 'You have a script?' He said, 'No, nothing is written'". López agreed to act in the movie and received the script one year later; he's said that "it was exactly the same, it was incredible. In his little head he had all the history with a lot of little detail, a lot of characters, like now when you look at the movie, it was exactly what he had in his head".

Ivana Baquero with a fairy.


Del Toro got the idea of the faun from childhood experiences with "lucid dreaming". He stated on The Charlie Rose Show that every midnight, he would wake up, and a faun would gradually step out from behind the grandfather's clock. Originally, the faun was supposed to be a classic half-man, half-goat faun fraught with beauty. But in the end, the faun was altered into a goat-faced creature almost completely made out of earth, moss, vines, and tree bark. He became a mysterious, semi-suspicious relic who gave both the impression of trustworthiness and many signs that warn someone to never confide in him at all.

Del Toro has said the film has strong connections in theme to The Devil's Backbone and should be seen as an informal sequel dealing with some of the issues raised there. Some of the other works he drew on for inspiration include Lewis Carroll's "Alice" books, Jorge Luis Borges' Ficciones, Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan and The White People, Lord Dunsany's The Blessing of Pan, Algernon Blackwood's Pan's Garden and Francisco Goya's works. In 2004, del Toro said: "Pan is an original story. Some of my favorite writers (Borges, Blackwood, Machen, Dunsany) have explored the figure of the god Pan and the symbol of the labyrinth. These are things that I find very compelling and I am trying to mix them and play with them." It was also influenced by the illustrations of Arthur Rackham.

Teaser Poster


Del Toro wanted to include a fairy tale about a dragon for Ofelia to narrate to her unborn brother. The tale involved the dragon, named Varanium Silex, who guarded a mountain surrounded by thorns, but at its peak is a blue rose that can grant immortality. The dragon and the thorns ward off many men though, who decide it is better to avoid pain than to be given immortality. Although the scene was thematically important, it was cut for budget reasons.

There are differing ideas about the film's religious influences. Del Toro himself has said that he considers Pan's Labyrinth "a truly profane film, a layman's riff on Catholic dogma", but that his friend Alejandro González Iñárritu described it as "a truly Catholic film". Del Toro's explanation is "once a Catholic, always a Catholic".

Guillermo Navarro, the director of photography, said that "after doing work in Hollywood on other movies and with other directors, working in our original language in different scenery brings me back to the original reasons I wanted to make movies, which is basically to tell stories with complete freedom and to let the visuals really contribute to the telling of the story".

Effects

Pan's Labyrinth employs some computer generated imagery in its effects, but mostly uses complex make-up and animatronics. The giant toad was inspired by The Maze. Del Toro himself performed the noises. The mandrake root is a combination of animatronics and CG. Del Toro wanted the fairies "to look like little monkeys, like dirty fairies", but the animation company had the idea to give them wings made of leaves.

Jones spent an average of five hours sitting in the makeup chair as his team of David Marti, Montse Ribe and Xavi Bastida applied the makeup for the Faun, which was mostly latex foam. The last piece to be applied was the pair of horns, which weighed ten pounds and were extremely tiring to wear. The legs were a unique design, with Jones standing on eight-inch-high lifts, and the legs of the Faun attached to his own. His lower leg was eventually digitally erased in post production. Servos in the head flapped the Faun's ears and blinked the eyes, and were remotely operated by David Marti and Xavi Bastida from DDT Efectos Especiales while on set. Del Toro told Jones to "go rock star... like a glam rocker. But less David Bowie, more Mick Jagger". Del Toro also had the faun grow younger as the movie progressed.

As for the Pale Man, Jones said that he had to look out of the Pale Man's nostrils, and the character's legs were attached to the front of a green leotard which Jones wore.

Subtitles

The film uses subtitles for its translation into other languages, including English. Del Toro wrote them himself, because he was disappointed with the subtitles of his previous Spanish film, The Devil's Backbone. In an interview, he said that they were "for the thinking impaired" and "incredibly bad". He spent a month working with two other people, and said that he didn't want it to "feel like... watching a subtitled film".

Distribution

Korean edition of Pan's Labyrinth.


Pan's Labyrinth was first released at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival on May 27, 2006. Its first premiere in an English-speaking country was at the London FrightFest Film Festival on August 25, 2006. Its first general release was in Spain on October 11, 2006, followed by a release in Mexicomarker nine days later. On November 24, 2006 it had its first general English release in the United Kingdom; that month it was also released in France, Serbiamarker, Belgiummarker, Italy, Russia, Singaporemarker and South Korea. It had a limited release in Canada and the United States on December 29, 2006, in Australia on January 18, 2007, in Taiwanmarker on April 27, 2007, in Sloveniamarker on May 17, 2007 and in Japan on September 29, 2007. Its widest release in the United States was in 1,143 theatres.

The film was released on DVD on March 12, 2007 in the UK by Optimum Releasing in a two-disc special edition. The film was released in the United States on May 15, 2007 from New Line Home Entertainment in both single-disc and double-disc special edition versions, featuring an additional DTS-ES audio track not present on the UK version. Additionally, the film received a special limited edition release in South Koreamarker and Germanymarker. Only 20,000 copies of this edition were manufactured. It is presented in a digipak designed to look like the Book of Crossroads. The Korean first edition contains two DVDs along with an art book and replica of Ofelia's key. The German special limited edition contains three DVDs and a book containing the movie's storyboard. Pan's Labyrinth was released for download on June 22, 2007 from Channel 4's on-demand service, 4oD.

High definition versions of Pan's Labyrinth were released in December 2007 on both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats. New Line has stated that due to their announcement of supporting Blu-ray exclusively, thus dropping HD DVD support with immediate effect, Pan's Labyrinth will be the first and last HD DVD release for the studio, and would be discontinued after current stock is depleted. Both versions had a PiP commentary while web extras were exclusive to the HD DVD version . The audio for both versions were presented in DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio track in 7.1 Surround, which was a first for New Line Home Entertainment.

Reception

Academy Awards
  1. Best Art Direction
  2. Best Cinematography
  3. Best Makeup
Ariel Awards
  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Director
  3. Best Actress (Maribel Verdú)
  4. Best Art Direction
  5. Best Cinematography
  6. Best Costume Design
  7. Best Make-Up
  8. Best Original Score
  9. Best Special Effects
BAFTA Awards
  1. Best Foreign Language Film
  2. Best Costume Design
  3. Best Makeup & Hair
Constellation Awards
  1. Best Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, or Mini-series
Fantasporto
  1. Best Film
Goya Awards
  1. Best Original Screenplay
  2. Best Cinematography
  3. Best Editing
  4. Best Makeup and Hair
  5. Best New Actress (Ivana Baquero)
  6. Best Sound
  7. Best Special Effects
National Society of Film Critics
  1. Best Picture
Saturn Awards
  1. Best International Film
  2. Best Performance by a Younger Actor (Ivana Baquero)
Spacey Awards
  1. Space Choice Awards




Pan's Labyrinth received near universal critical acclaim, possessing a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 100 percent rating among the "Cream of the Crop" critics. It received a 98% rating at Metacritic, making it Metacritic's fourth highest rated movie of all time, and the highest of all films reviewed upon their original release. At its Cannes Film Festivalmarker release, it received a 22 minute standing ovation. It also received a standing ovation at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festivalmarker, its first release in the Americas.

Mark Kermode, in The Observer, labeled Pan's Labyrinth as the best film of 2006, describing it as "an epic, poetic vision in which the grim realities of war are matched and mirrored by a descent into an underworld populated by fearsomely beautiful monsters". Stephanie Zacharek wrote that the film "works on so many levels that it seems to change shape even as you watch it", and Jim Emerson called the film "a fairy tale of such potency and awesome beauty that it reconnects the adult imagination to the primal thrill and horror of the stories that held us spellbound as children". Roger Ebert reviewed the film after his surgery and it was put on his Great Movies series on August 27, 2007 and when he did his belated top ten films of 2006 Pan's Labyrinth was #1 with him stating "But even in a good year I'm unable to see everything. And I'm still not finished with my 2006 discoveries. I'm still looking at more 2007 movies, too, and that list will run as usual in late December. Nothing I am likely to see, however, is likely to change my conviction that the year's best film was Pan's Labyrinth". The New Yorker's Anthony Lane took special note of the film's sound design, saying it "discards any hint of the ethereal by turning up the volume on small, supercharged noises: the creak of the Captain's leather gloves... the nighttime complaints of floorboard and rafter...." Some reviewers had criticisms, however: for The San Diego Union-Tribune, David Elliott said "the excitement is tangible", but added that "what it lacks is successful unity... Del Toro has the art of many parts, but only makes them cohere as a sort of fevered extravaganza". New York Pressmarker critic Armond White criticized the film saying that the "superfluous addition of del Toro's fairy-tale sensibility to real human misery made that story insufferable [and that] only critics and fanboys (not the general public) fell for its titular allusion to Borges".A.O. Scott included the film in his The New York Times Magazine essay "The most important films of the past decade — and why they mattered."

During its limited first three weeks at the United States box office, the film made $5.4 million. As of March 1, 2007, it has grossed over $37 million in North America, and grossed $80 million worldwide. In Spain, it grossed almost $12 million, and it is the fourth highest domestically grossing foreign film in the United States. In the United States, it has generated $55 million from its DVD Sales and Rentals. [209492]

Awards

Academy Awards

Winner
*Best Art Direction
*Best Cinematography
*Best Makeup
Nominated
*Best Original Score
*Best Original Screenplay
*Best Foreign Language Film


Other Awards

Pan's Labrynth has also earned BAFTA awards for Best Film Not in English, Costume Design, and Makeup and Hair. At the Goya Awards, the Spanish equivalent of the Academy Awards, the film won in many categories including Best Cinematography, Editing, Make Up & Hairstyles, New Actress for Ivana Baquero, Original Screenplay, Sound and Special Effects. At Mexico's Ariel Awards, the movie won in 8 categories, including Best Movie and Best Director. The film won the top award at the 2007 edition of Fantasporto. At the 2007 Saturn Awards, it received accolades for Best International Film and Best Performance by a Younger Actor for Ivana Baquero. The film also won "Best Film" at the 2007 Spacey Awards, and "Best Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, or Mini-Series of 2006" at the 2007 Constellation Awards. It also won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form in 2007.

The film was also nominated for a number of other awards such as Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes in 2007.

Top 10 Lists

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2006.





General Top 10

Comparisons to other films

In 2007, del Toro noted the striking similarities between his film and Disney's The Chronicles of Narnia: both films are set around the same time, have similar child-age principal characters, mythic creatures (particularly the fauns), and themes of "disobedience and choice." Says del Toro: "This is my version of that universe, not only 'Narnia,' but that universe of children's literature." In fact, del Toro was asked to direct The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe but turned it down for Pan's Labyrinth.

In addition to Narnia, Pan's Labyrinth has also been compared to films such as Gabor Csupo's Bridge to Terabithia and Jim Henson's Labyrinth. Del Toro himself has noted similarities with The Spirit of the Beehive.

Soundtrack

The score for Pan's Labyrinth, composed by Javier Navarrete, was released on December 19, 2006. Navarette and the score were nominated for an Academy Award. It was entirely structured around a lullaby, and del Toro had the entire score included on the soundtrack, even though much of it had been cut during production. The art used for the soundtrack cover was the unutilized Drew Struzan promotional poster for the film.

Track listing

  1. "Long, Long Time Ago (Hace mucho, mucho tiempo)" – 2:14
  2. "The Labyrinth (El laberinto)" – 4:07
  3. "Rose, Dragon (La rosa y el dragón)" – 3:36
  4. "The Fairy and the Labyrinth (El hada y el laberinto)" – 3:36
  5. "Three Trials (Las tres pruebas)" – 2:06
  6. "The Moribund Tree and the Toad (El árbol que muere y el sapo)" – 7:12
  7. "Guerilleros (Guerrilleros)" – 2:06
  8. "A Book of Blood (El libro de sangre)" – 3:47
  9. "Mercedes Lullaby (Nana de Mercedes)" – 1:39
  10. "The Refuge (El refugio)" – 1:32
  11. "Not Human (El que no es humano)" – 5:55
  12. "The River (El río)" – 2:50
  13. "A Tale (Un cuento)" – 1:55
  14. "Deep Forest (Bosque profundo)" – 5:48
  15. "Waltz of the Mandrake (Vals de la mandrágora)" – 3:42
  16. "The Funeral (El funeral)" – 2:45
  17. "Mercedes (Mercedes)" – 5:37
  18. "Pan and the Full Moon (La luna llena y el fauno)" – 5:08
  19. "Ofelia (Ofelia)" – 2:19
  20. "A Princess (Una princesa)" – 4:03
  21. "Pan's Labyrinth Lullaby (Nana del laberinto del fauno)" – 1:47


References

  1. Pan's Labyrinth DVD, U.S.
  2. Del Toro message board, Answers Archive Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:27 am, repost from elsewhere; Retrieved on 2007-08-20.
  3. " Guillermo Del Toro - Labyrinth Director Wrote His Own Subtitles", contactmusic.com, 2007-02-13. Retrieved on 2008-03-25.
  4. " New Line Details Transition to Blu-ray", highdefdigest.com, 2008-01-08. Retrieved on 2008-03-25.
  5. White, Armond (2008). "Hell Hath Obvious Limits", New York Press. Retrieved on 2008-10-29.
  6. [1]


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