Monday, September 18, 2006

Sunday Morning Cinema

Guillermo del Toro wanted me to see his film Pan's Labyrinth (, and arranged a Sunday morning screening at the local cinema. So yesterday morning I discovered,

a) the the local cinema is also a church on Sunday mornings. Who knew?

b) that Pan's Labyrinth is an astonishing film. It's an uncompromisingly adult film, with a child and her fairy tale inset into it as a contrast and echo. You start the film believing it to be Ofelia's film, and you gradually discover that the adult story is not background but the story as well, and they move in tandem.

c) Despite gorgeous imagery (oh the faun! and oh the thing at the table!) and magical fairy-tale stuff, it deserves its R rating for real moments of extreme and bloody Spanish Civil War violence. I took all my adult children and a few of their friends to the screening, with Maddy (12) as the youngest, and there were bits she was much happier watching with her eyes shut.

d) It has subtitles. You don't notice this after a moment, mostly because the subtitles are so well written. Hoever, whenever Maddy had to avert her eyes she also discovered that she no longer knew what was being said, so I had to read the subtitles to her, grateful that we had that screening room to ourselves.

I'm really glad I saw it, and more glad that Guillermo made it. It feels like it opens up the vocabulary of fantasy on film. And it made me so happy in its interleaving of the fantastic and the mundane without privileging either.