Sunday, April 29, 2012

El laberinto del fauno

Ofelia in El laberinto del fauno
Dr. Deveny’s lecture on the film El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) was different from any of our other lectures in that we did not discuss a fairy tale, per say. The movie is a combination of fantasy and history, and unlike fairy tales, it was not originally a written work. Nevertheless, we found many of Propp’s 31 Functions in the movie. For example, Ofelia wanders off from home (Function #1), she disobeys the Faun’s interdiction to not eat anything from the Pale Man’s table (#2 and 3), she acquires the magical help of the Faun and the fairies (#14), and she has a birthmark of a crescent moon (#17). These, and many more of the 31 folk tale functions, are in El laberinto del fauno.

This movie also differs in that, unlike most other fairy tales, its female protagonist is incredibly independent. Ofelia willingly leaves her mother’s side to follow the directions of the Faun, an unknown, scary creature, and never loses faith that he will lead her to her kingdom. Ofelia is also willingly disobedient, as she refuses to let the Faun have even a drop of her baby brother’s blood in order to open the labyrinth. It’s so nice to see a young, strong, female protagonist, in contrast to the passive ones we see in many fairy tales.

What I love about this movie is its historical context—1940’s Spain under Franco’s dictatorship. This historical aspect makes the movie more plausible, and gives the viewer a reason not to dismiss it as simply a fantasy film. This is definitely one of my new favorite movies and I’m glad I got the chance to watch it.

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