As I think over my experience of watching Pan's Labyrinth, I am struck by tone of the acting, the set and costume work, the story...and the purpose of myth.
When I reached the sad end of the story in Pan's Labyrinth, I was sure that the Ofelia did not have to die. It was not inevitable. I could think of many ways in which her life could have been saved. But the fact of the story is she did die. And the myth that envelopes the film serves to explain or give meaning to her (avoidable) death. Indeed, that is the purpose of myth, right? To provide meaning to the consequences of life. Not all consequences are necessary. But it is necessary to give the consequences meaning...necessary to our human psyche, anyway.
In fact, I would say that myth makes the real-life consequences seem inevitable, unavoidable, when in reality they are not. That contrast in this film (or the way I viewed it; I may be the only one that sees it this way) makes Pan's Labyrinth such a mature and risky story. It illustrates how myth plays in real life. Not all see the same myth. But all myth serves the same purpose, giving meaning to the consequences of our lives. Ofelia's death fulfills the myth. That is myth's purpose. However objectively tragic (and avoidable) her death may have been, we hunger -- we NEED -- that mythical meaning, or life would feel random, purposeless. It's why we have religions and why they take up such an important part of many human lives; because they provide the meaning for the consequences of life. It's a powerful, human need. And it's beautifully portrayed in Pan's Labyrinth by director Guillermo del Toro.
|Pan's Labyrinth, Directed by Guillermo del Toro
- Laberinto del fauno, El (2006)
- Pan's Labyrinth | Official Movie Site | Picturehouse
- Guillermo del Toro
- Del Toro Films - Guillermo Del Toro Fansite
- Flickr images