What Is The Film "Pan's Labyrinth" About?


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Louise Gorman Profile
Louise Gorman answered
Pan's Labyrinth was released in 2006 and is a dark fantasy film. The film is entirely in Spanish and was subtitled for release in other countries.

The film focuses on a young girl named Ofelia, who travels with her pregnant mother to see Captain Vidal after the Spanish Civil War. It soon becomes clear that Captain Vidal is a cold and cruel man. After meeting Vidal, who is her new stepfather, for the first time, Ofelia comes across a strange insect whilst out exploring. She follows it and ends up meeting a young woman named Mercedes, who is Captain Vidal's housekeeper. Mercedes makes plans to help the rebels escape. In a brief scene, the film shows a group of rebels planning the escape. One of them has his wounded leg amputated by a doctor, who, along with Mercedes, is planning to help them make their escape. One of the rebels suffers from a stutter.

Later that night, the insect reappears and Ofelia follows it again. She ends up in a labyrinth, where she encounters a faun named Pan. Pan believes that Ofelia is a princess named Moanna, who is part of a fairy tale that is introduced at the start of the film, where Ofelia is seen lying on the ground. Princess Moanna is part of the Underground Realm and leaves to explore the world above, where she forgets about the Underground Realm and dies. The tale ends with Moanna's father hoping that her spirit will return to him.

Pan sets Ofelia three tasks. These tasks must be completed before the full moon. If Ofelia completes the tasks before this time, then Princess Moanna's spirit will return to the Underground Realm. The first of the tasks involves Ofelia obtaining a key from the stomach of a giant toad who resides in a fig tree. Ofelia successfully completes the task, but faces problems when her pregnant mother bleeds heavily. Pan helps Ofelia by telling her to place mandrake roots in milk to help her mother recover. Ofelia does this and is then given her second task, which is to retrieve a dagger from the lair of the Pale Man using the key that she obtained earlier.

Before Ofelia goes to complete the task, Pan warns her that she must not eat any of the food in the Pale Man's lair. When Ofelia enters the lair, she sees the Pale Man, who is a monster that eats children, sitting at a table surrounded by food. She manages to obtain the dagger, but ignores Pan's warning and eats two large grapes from the table just as she is about to leave. This awakens the Pale Man, who chases Ofelia. She manages to escape from the Pale Man by using a piece of chalk to draw a door so that she can get out of the lair.

Pan is furious with Ofelia for not listening to his warning and as a result tells her that he will not be giving her the third task. Ofelia faces more problems as things in her own world get worse. Ofelia's mother gives birth to a son, but dies shortly after. Some of the rebels, including the one that stutters, are captured. Vidal cruelly tells the stuttering rebel that he will not be tortured if he can manage to count to a certain number without stuttering. The man fails and is seriously injured by Vidal. Vidal asks the doctor to see to the stuttering man's wounds so that he can be questioned further, but the doctor disobeys Vidal and gives the badly injured man a lethal injection at the man's request. When Vidal discovers what the doctor has done, he kills him.

Vidal also discovers that Mercedes has helped the rebels to escape and captures her, planning to torture her. She manages to escape using a knife, with which she wounds Vidal, but does not kill him. She runs away, but is cornered by Vidal's men. However, the rebels, including her brother, defeat the men and rescue her. Throughout these events, Vidal also treats Ofelia cruelly, and reacts angrily when he discovers the mandrake root under her bed.

Pan appears again and tells Ofelia that she has another chance. He tells her that in order to complete the third task, she must bring her baby brother into the labyrinth. Ofelia manages to escape from Vidal by drugging him and takes her brother into the labyrinth. When she reaches Pan, he tells her that in order to open the way to the Underworld, he must take the blood of an innocent, which is Ofelia's brother. Not wanting her brother to be harmed, Ofelia refuses to let Pan take her brother's blood. Pan is angry at Ofelia's refusal and disappears. Vidal manages to track Ofelia down and takes the baby from her. A gunshot goes off and Ofelia is seen holding her stomach, indicating that Vidal has shot her. She lies on the ground and Vidal leaves.

After he leaves the labyrinth with the baby, he comes face to face with Mercedes and the rebels. Vidal knows that he will be killed and asks Mercedes to tell his son what time his father died. Mercedes refuses, telling Vidal that his son will never know about him. Vidal is then killed by Mercedes's brother.

Mercedes and the rebels rush into the labyrinth, where they find Ofelia lying down. The scene is exactly the same as at the start of the film, when Ofelia is shown lying on the ground. As Mercedes cradles Ofelia and sings a lullaby to her, Ofelia is shown in the underworld with her mother and her real father, where she learns from Pan that she completed the third and final task by protecting her brother and sacrificing herself and is therefore the true Princess Moanna. She survives with her mother, father and brother in the Underworld, but dies in reality.
Geekfreak Freakgeek Profile
The movie is a metaphor for war through the eyes of a child, who are innocent and create fantasies to take them away from the evil occurring around them.

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