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Film Critics: Today, December 11, winners from TorontoFCA, BostonSFC. Nominations from ChicagoFCA.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth)


What a horrible and most beautiful movie! Brilliant combination and blending of extreme opposites! Outstanding screenplay and outstanding storyteller/filmmaker!

I was subdued and appalled by this movie when I watched it some weeks ago. It was a voyage into a dark children fantasy with non-gracious and awkward child characters like the faun … and just this situation should have given away what was coming, but it did not; so, at the end I was just shocked with a bitter taste in my mouth.

I am not that familiar with Guillermo del Toro’s work. Have seen some not so good movies by him like Hellboy, Blade II and Mimic, and I was not aware of El Espinazo del Diablo, that after watching this masterpiece, I will have to watch it. Seems that some people consider him as a horror film icon … well, this movie is no horror movie; but still, is full of realistic horror.

Considered by some to have a simple and straightforward plot with layers and layers of intelligent writing, metaphors and message. I could not agree more. Yes, the story is outstanding and enough I said.

But, as a movie, is truly a masterpiece. The dry and dark look makes total sense as the movie develops and without it, it just would not be the same. It was essential. Then it has Guillermo Navarro’s fantastic cinematography that just blows your senses. Relies heavily on visual and special effects, including the computer-generated kind, and you will never be aware of them. This is brilliant use of special effects by Jeff Barnes and Reyes Abades!! This is a smart reason why technology has a place in movie making.

One thing that almost always is overlooked by us common viewers is film editing. In this film Bernat Vilaplana editing was excellent and keep the film flowing flawless.

Add a terrific cast, lead by Ivana Barquero’s outstanding performance as the heroine, Sergi Lopez that creates a complex, indelible and vaguely Freudian portrait of chauvinism and fascist mania run wild, and the incredible Maribel Verdu’s performance (as she has done it before!) and you have a movie that works splendidly in all of its parts.

I am not one that pays much attention to crew names, besides the director and sometimes the screenplay writer. But, did you notice that I mentioned many names here? I had to know who was doing what, because their work deserves so much recognition.

One of the best movies I ever seen, and this is hard to say, when I realize that has a very disturbing story. This is an adult fairy tale not to be missed.

Last, but not least, this movie is nominated for 6 Oscars and has already 30 wins and 40 nominations allover the world.

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