Pan’s Labyrinth

195997691_cd6c1d0e96_m.jpgMy wife and I had a chance to see Guillermo Del Toro’s new film, Pan’s Labyrinth (IMDB) on Tuesday night at the Metropolitan. The former Austinite and Austin Film Society advisory board member’s new film is grabbing its fair share of critical acclaim as it goes into wider release today. The Austin Chronicle is running a cover story this week. There’s also a pretty good video interview with Del Toro about the film here.

Pan’s Labyrinth returns to the same setting as 2001’s The Devil’s Backbone. I managed to catch a screening of that at Dobie back then, but I think it only ran here for a short time. Both films are set in Spain in the early 1940’s when Franco’s fascist army terrorized much of the country. Devil’s Backbone was more of a ghost story and precedes Pan’s Labyrinth by a few years. I’d categorize Pan’s Labyrinth as a fantasy. It’s a dark fantasy though. Don’t go into this one with the kids. There are some fairly brutal scenes. The visuals are amazing, particularly the now infamous Pale Man, who’s sure to join Pinhead from Hellraiser and Freddy Kruger from Nightmare on Elm Street in your cast of favorite nightmarish villains. His scene evokes memories of a Heironymous Bosch painting. The stories don’t depend on each other, so it’s not necessary to have seen Devil’s Backbone to enjoy Pan’s Labyrinth. Check it out.

Update: I somehow missed Jette’s review when I posted this earlier this morning. And I forgot two other things. First, that Pan’s Labyrinth also reminded me somewhat of Heavenly Creatures and second that if you’re interested in that time period in Spain’s history, check out Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell.

Photo from Mr Babyman via Flickr

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