I’ll be taking over for Pat this week. With my opportunity to give my very own “Film Lesson”, I’ve chosen to enlighten the masses with a movie that’s, without a doubt, one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of all time: Pan’s Labyrinth. Pan’s Labyrinth, in Spanish “El Laberinto del Fauno”, is nerd-guru film director Guillermo del Toro’s crowning achievement.

Ophelia entering the Toad's Tree in Pan's Labyrinth (Image by: hdwallpapers.in)

Ofelia entering the Toad’s Tree in Pan’s Labyrinth
(Image by: hdwallpapers.in)

The story takes place in post-war 1944 fascist Spain. It shows the power of imagination and innocence. Ofelia, the stepdaughter of a sadistic Spanish military thug, fabricates an intricate adventure through the labyrinth guided by the faun Pan, the God of Nature. She is given three gruesome tasks. Pan promises that upon completion, she is to be returned to her true father, the “King”.

Pan consoles Ophelia in the Labyrinth  (Image by: confusedmatthew.com)

Pan consoles Ofelia in the Labyrinth
(Image by: confusedmatthew.com)

Del Toro’s movie masterpiece combines childlike elements of mythology and the perpendicular adult views of mysticism and paints the two with a dark, haunting hue. Together, the elements form a terrific adventure for the imaginative child and the audience alike. Del Toro has described himself as a “history buff”, which shines through in this film. The Spanish Civil War represents a brutal, horrific time for the people of Spain. Ofelia’s intellectual retreat spawns horrifying creatures such as the Monstrous Toad and the Pale Man.

Guillermo del Toro's Pale Man, who only feeds of "the blood of innocents" (Image by: culturepopped.blogspot.com)

Guillermo del Toro’s Pale Man, who only feeds of “the blood of innocents”
(Image by: culturepopped.blogspot.com)

Each creature symbolizes the essence of Captain Vidal, Ofelia’s stepfather. Ofelia discovers the Monstrous Toad in the base of a V-shaped tree, with it’s curved branches meant to represent her pregnant mother’s fallopian tubes.  The Monstrous Toad’s demolition of the towering tree represents Captain Vidal’s child inside the womb of Ofelia’s sick, tender mother. This imagery is furthered by the bloody tendrils that line the pages of Ofelia’s Magic Book. This dark, horrific imagery is laced throughout the entirety of Pan’s Labyrinth. Guillermo del Toro presents horror in a memorable, yet believable way, by portraying gore and terror for emotional impact, not pure spectacle. Be sure to check this film out because it truly is one of the greatest cinematic creations of all time and my favorite film. Alright Intellects, Class Dismissed.