Enchanting, spellbinding, and fantastically beautiful, Pan's Labyrinth
(a.k.a. El Laberinto del Fauno
) is undoubtedly one of the best films of 2006. Directed by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy
), this magnificent film creates two starkly different, yet gruesomely similar worlds through the eyes of a young, imaginative girl. Set in 1940s fascist Spain, Pan's Labyrinth
coldly presents the dark reality of violence and repression in contrast with the vivid beauty and dangers of a magical realm. Much like in the classic Chronicles of Narnia
, the fantasy elements here tell a deeper tale, providing an escapist allegory of the less defined, but more frightening evils of a world that lies beyond one's control. Premiering at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, the critically acclaimed Pan's Labyrinth
is a remarkable achievement in modern-day filmmaking. It was named Best Picture by the National Society of Film Critics and has received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Screenplay.
Young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) moves to the countryside of northern Spain with her pregnant mother (Ariadna Gil) and tyrannical stepfather Captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez), who is there to put down the area's guerrilla fighters. Near her house, Ofelia finds a labyrinth where she meets a faun named Pan (Doug Jones). Pan tells her that she is actually the princess of the underworld, lost in the mortal realm. In order to return to her kingdom, Ofelia must complete three tasks. The young girl adventures into a magnificent world full of flitting fairies, mystical creatures, and gruesome monsters - but the greatest dangers await in the relentless darkness of the human world where there are no magical escapes.