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Pan's Labyrinth - Essay Example

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Pan's Labyrinth is staged during the Spanish civil war. Although the Republicans were already defeated during the staging of the film, there were still pockets of resistance from insurgents that marrked Spain’s civil war. …
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Pan's Labyrinth

Download file to see previous pages... Captain Vidal may have a strong presence on the screen due to his emotionally charged character of a brutal tyrannical officer but the most interesting character was the step daughter Ofelia who discovered a mysterious labyrinth where she meets a faun. What makes the discovery remarkable was that the faun treated Ofelia a princess who guided to embark not only on a journey to discover her destiny but also gave her a mandrake root who cured her ailing mother Mercedes. In the end, Ofelia met her destiny by being reunited with the king and queen of the underworld after passing the last test of the faun to shed her own blood instead of her brother to enter into the portal of underworld. The film may have the visual trappings of a fantasy movie but if one would try to decipher the deeper meanings and interpret the elements of the film, it is actually a political film about authoritarianism and fascism that reflects the director’s disgust of structure and institutions. The element of a detestable political ideology breathe life to the movie because it was the milieu of the film. The other element of the film is Ofelia’s fantasy world which is really an allegory of Del Toro’s personal political point of view against authoritarianism which is reflected in the film. These two elements, the political element and fantasy element are intertwined in the film because Del Toro used the political element to visualize his disgust for institution and authority which is the precursor of the fantasy element of the film – Ofelia’s withdrawal into fantasy world or Pan’s Labyrinth. More than the mysticism and folklore of the film, Pan Labyrinth highlighted the political dimension of authoritarian Spain in 1944 - a time when Second World War was immenint, where Hitler was in his prime, and war was the order of the day. The film also portrayed what fascism and authoritarianism as a form of government. This was exhibited by Captain Vidal who was a an officer in General Franco’s army who was tasked to route the rebels by any means necessary. In his dispensation of his duty, he was allowed to use absolute and brutal force in his attempt to reroute the guerillas which could be unacceptable today. This method was characteristic of a fascist government during General Francisco’s time whose government was characterised by absolute authoritarianism that exudes with extreme nationalism to unify the country through discipline and indoctrination and if necessary, brutal force. The film’s political dimension is allegorical and meant more than what is the obvious of how oppressive fascism is. Beyond the ideology of fascim, it tackles the element of how authoritarianism breeds violence and evil which in Del Toro’s film was personified by Captain Vidal. The film also reflected the element of director’s political point of view of how he hated structure and its authority be it in church, society or organization. This element can be known if one would try to understand what the director was thinking when he was making the film. In an interview, he admitted that this element of personal protest against institutions and authority is present in the movie (Youtube). This hatred in institutions was very obvious in Del Toro’s film Pan’s Labyrinth where authoritarian soldiers were portrayed as evil that cannot be defeated. This element of disgust over authorianism and institutions can be also seen in Del Toro’s other films such as Hellboy, Blade and Pacific Rim albeit it is not as obvious as Pan’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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