18 February 2007

El Laberinto del Fauno

Saw Del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" last night. If we can agree on nothing else, can we agree that this is not a good first-date flick?

When I was a little kid (8 or 9), my idiot sister and her friends (who were in college, so 18 and up) decided it would be fun if they took me to a horror movie double-feature at the local drive-in. (I was staying at her dorm for "Little Sisters Weekend.") I don't remember the second movie, but the first one was called, "Don't Look in the Basement," and was about inmates killing the director and running the insane asylum. I don't remember the details but let's just say axes were featured prominently. My sister and her friends put me on the floor of the car with a blanket over my head after it became obvious that I was scared out of my wits, but -- of course -- I could still hear the gruesome sound effects. She told me not to tell my parents and at first I didn't, not until I started having horrible nightmares that left me in a cold panic. My parents were really worried about me. They couldn't imagine what could have happened to cause me to suddenly have such terrifying nightmares, and I eventually squealed on her.

Because of that, when I went to college I remember making myself watch movie violence, thinking it was something to which I needed to inure myself. I did get over my fear of watching horror movies, eventually, and after that I realized there was nothing more to be gained by toughening myself in this way. Since then, not watching movie violence has saved me from having certain gruesome images stuck in my head. I don't think I need those images floating around in my head. (Does anyone?)

Anyway, in retrospect, I appreciated a great many things about this movie. Once the shock of some of the film's more brutal moments has worn off, my overall impression will be positive. The young girl who plays the movie's heroine was luminous and most of the CG was done well, not distracting from the plot or acting in any way, and the score was lovely and haunting (especially the lullaby, which I find myself humming at the oddest times). The brutal anti-hero was well-played and the backdrop of the violence of war was perfect for creating the is-it-or-isn't-it-real quality the director was obviously seeking. But I think it bears repeating that this is definitely not first-date material.

Helpful tip to single men the world over: don't take a woman you don't know well to a movie featuring stomach-turning violence. On the plus side: Fairies!


anish said...

"Tres Años de Soledad" = 3 Years of Solitude right? Interesting, I got it translated through one of those Eng to Spa translators. :P...

Btw, nice post!

And yeah, the more gruesome stuff you watch the more immune you get to it. I remember I saw The Ring, and it was kinda my first scary movie, and I FREAKED. Then watched some more such films, and freaked some more. But now I am okay...though scary films fascinate me!

Not a big fan of violence though!

"don't take a woman you don't know well to a movie featuring stomach-turning violence" - i did that once - and oh boy, the both of us regretted it after. I took her to watch "THE HISTORY OF VIOLENCE" - the crappiest movie ever! What was I thinking!?

Anyhoo - blog on!

Lyralei said...

Yup, Three Years of Solitude (it's technically four now, but it seems wrong to keep changing the name of my blog). I haven't exactly been "alone" for four years (given that I've had not only a baby/toddler/child with me for all four, but a boyfriend for the last two), but... it is still three years of solitude, metaphorically.

I do want to see The Ring. And now that I've seen Pan's Labyrinth (aka El Labarinto del Faun), I want to see Espinazo del Diablo (The Devil's Backbone) by the same director. So I'm adding them to my NetFlix queue -- which means that while on the one hand I curse my ex-boyfriend for giving me a Christmas gift that would make me think of him every goddamn time I use it, on the other hand thanks, John, for a year of free NetFlix!

rodiii said...

I don't remember the details but let's just say axes were featured prominently.

That pretty much sums up what I retained from my calculus classes.

By the way--although hardcores sneer at it for not being authentic or something--I think The Ring is great. Not gory (mostly) but real don't-look-under-the-bed scary.