Term Paper: Pan's Labyrinth the Movie 'El

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[. . .] Magic & Mimesis

In the background of pot-Civil War Spain, Pan's Labyrinth is the tale of Ofelia. Ofelia is a young girl who along with her mother Carmen goes to live with her step father Vidal who is the fascist Captain. With the progression of Carmon's difficult pregnancy, Captain Vidal wishes that his son must be born where his father is. At this point of the story, Captain Vidal is indulged in a military struggle against anti-fascist rebels in the mountains around the mill where the family is currently living. The housekeeper, spy and the secret rebel collaborator Mercedes make friends with Ofelia. Ofelia also encounters with a supernatural mythical faun in the primeval and breakdown labyrinth near the mill. Here Ofelia has to confer life in two worlds; one is real world where she is the unwanted step daughter of the villain Captain Vidal and the other is the mythical world where must prove herself to be the princes Moana of the Underground realm and return to her fairy-tale father's world after the accomplishment of three tasks successfully. By the end of the film the two world's crash explosively as Ofelia has to make an impossible decision as she has to surrender her newborn brother either to the Captain or the faun.

Being a disobedient text, Pan's Labyrinth criticizes the political rule in practice both in the family and in the nation and this critiques has emerged in the film as openly associated to the narrative. That is disobedience has been highlighted in the film through a planned play-by intentionally changing amongst its own devotion to and disobedience of narrative desires as they have been created and approved by narrative genres themselves in due course. Brook's account of the "ambitious hero (who) stands as a figure of the reader's efforts to construct meanings in ever-larger wholes, to totalize his experience of human existence in time, to grasp past, present, and future in a significant shape" can easily mapped in the character of Captain Vidal who holds desire to create and control meaning for himself, his family and his nation. But as Captain Vidal who is the villain in this story so the audiences are not encouraged to identify with him. Relatively as regards Ofelia and Mercedes, we oppose Vidal and his efforts to totalize meaning-making through the recognition and abhorring his philosophy and his ways to enforce his philosophy on others. Viewers opposition to Vidal comprise of our recognition with and support of the disobedience show by Ofelia and also for Mercedes's disturbances of his rarrativizing. This opposition is created through story telling as disobedient desire in the film; and in addition is produced cinematically.

The early critics who reviewed the film after it was displayed on screens in North America in 2006 discuss the tension between the real world and unreal or fantasy and there is a tendency of referring this film as a fairy tale for adults. In this context, Pan's Labyrinth has destabilized the generic expectations related to a modern fairy tale films because fairy tales are considered as just for the entertainment of children that adults also enjoy. Comparatively, Pan's Labyrinth was not marketed as "fun for the whole family!" rather it is "R" rated, as the label attached to it states, "for graphic violence and some language," so even through its para-textual information, Pan's Labyrinth reveals its disobedience to the viewers expectations as they consider fairy tale movies for the entertainment of children. The construction of image of fairy tale for the entertainment arose out of eighteenth century image of the child. Pan's Labyrinth has also questioned the imaginary political innocence of the fairy tale as it uses a child as a central character having violent and frightening adventures resonance mid-twentieth century horrors.

Yet the generic amalgamation of the film is not set well with every viewer. Lucins a reviewer of this film believes Pan's Labyrinth does not meet its publicity because of its refusal to meet audience expectations: "While it's true that fairy tales have different requirements than do tales of suspense, this particular fairy tale is a two-hour-long film and must be appreciated as such" (136). As the film is both much and not enough like a fairy tale, Shepard desires "that del Toro had chosen to make either a film about the Spanish Civil War or a fairy tale" (137). Expressing his desire to read the story as a fairy tale of film script Shephard expresses to not to be able to exclude anything from the story, "apart from the verities that fascism is bad and young children are vulnerable" (137). Here Shepard's inability of recognizing the creative nature of this mixture of drama and fantasy means that the greater political critique of tyranny and the support of the inevitability of individuals of acting according to their beliefs while there is a national crisis are lost.

While questioning the vary relation of a fairy tale imagination with politics and real life, it seems that this reviewer make efforts to build some powerful generic distinctions and valuable judgments that protects the fairy tale as "marvelous." Tzvetan Todorov (1973) has categorized the fairy tale as consummate of marvelous, as "in the case of the marvelous, supernatural elements provoke no particular reaction either in the characters or in the implicit reader. It is not an attitude toward the events described which characterizes the marvelous, but the nature of these events" (54). According Todorov, it is rather the marvelous which make it familiar at discourse level: "what distinguishes fairy tale is a certain kind of writing, not the status of the supernatural." (54). Yet Todorov has ignored the politics in describing the genre of fairy tale.

With its opening scenes Pan's Labyrinth has troubled the limits of the views presented by the above critics regarding fairy tales. The early shots of the film have employed what Todorov points to as well as the cinematic techniques that points to mimesis. In addition, the sequences of scenes of the film realign the chronological estrangement that Jackson has lamented by positioning the events of this fairy tale storyline within the actual historic moment of mid-twentieth century post civil war Spain.

An omniscient teller of tales introduces the story of Princess Moana and her flee from the Underground Kingdom as is framed a fairy tale, formally in English fairy tales start with "once upon a time" but as it was translations it starts with "A long time ago." The story of Underground kingdom and Princes starts in the far away past, and the story teller employs the "impersonal authoritative, all knowing voice" that Jackson has attributed to the account of marvelous fairy tales; yet, Pan's Labyrinth is according to the definition of Jackson as regards other aspects of film.

In the beginning of the film before the narrator introduces the underground realm the actual historic moment of 1944 is depicted through white titles with black background. The utilization of written titles for the representation of political troublesome period of Spain post civil war is the implication of a form of omniscient narrator that Jackson has identified as indication the mimetic by the way of "openings that make an implicit claim of equivalence between the represented fictional world and the real world outside the text (34). Thus the beginning and sequence of initial shots in Pan's Labyrinth have been implemented both the story telling style of fairy tales as well as depiction of the mimetic period film and thus the film engages the viewers in both worlds at a moment actively . (3)

Apart from this there were many reviewers who praised the film the way fairy tales has been used and also its editing. The effects used to obtain the vibrant tensions amongst both the worlds. Yet it seems that some reviewers were not comfortable with the mixing of mimesis and magic. Initial reviews of the film devastatingly praise how the faun with magic world and Princes Moana seem depicting psychological somewhat that trying to engage in or contribute to the political assessment of film. In most of the review magic has been considered as a way to escape from the problems of real world that Ofelia faces. For example Kara states, "Like so many unhappy children before her, Ofelia finds escape in a dream world of her own making," Similarly Laura describes that "it is clear that the woodland is the place that ignites Oflia's imagination and where she lives out her fantasies" (2). Another critic Jack Zips is of the view that "she wills herself into this tale, and for all intents and purposes, it is she who appropriates the tale and creates it so that she can deal with forces…impinging on her life" (238). Lastly another reviewer Julian Smith has criticized how the clear hostility amongst the actual fascist Spain and fantasy world of Ofelia are… [END OF PREVIEW]

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