Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth: A Flawless Fairy Tale

Last night I watched Pan's Labyrinth for a second time since first seeing it in theatres back in January. Once again Guillermo del Toro's beautiful fairy tale drew me into a world in wich all that mattered was the story itself. Unfortunately, in the viewing room with me were two 18-yr-olds who could not fathom such a tale as they heckled and harassed implausible scenes. Ironically, the two skeptics did not criticize the blatently fantastic scenes involving Ofelia and her extraordinary advenutres, but rather the scenes involving humans in more realistic situations. This caused me to wonder why it is often easier to understand and believe the truths and meaning behind a fairy tale than it is to believe those of reality. As displayed by the two 18-yr-olds, it is often easier to lose oneself in the fantasy world than to understand and accept the flaws of the real world.
I think this is partly what Guillermo del Toro was trying (and succeeded) to do. By employing brilliant symbolism and artistic perfection, del Toro allows his audience to understand the story of young girl and the horror of human nature during the Spanish Civil War without clear-cut references to details. Ofelia's imaginative excursions all symbolize aspects of the Spanish Civil War, however, despite exhaustive internet search, I have not found exactly what they mean - perhaps it is better this way. Nonetheless, del Toro's use of the fairy tale is a reminder of how stories are often better communicators of the truth than reality itself.