Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth ★★★★★

97

(35mm)

"You'll meet her, she's very pretty, even though sometimes she's sad for many days at a time. You'll see, when she smiles, you'll love her."

A detail noticed on re-watch: how its transitions usually take root in obstructed frames, switching from reality to fantasy through sudden environmental formations and shapes. Trees, emblematic of nature's stability and the security of make-believe (in stark contrast to the agony of the real world), provide an aesthetic gateway to lands of quests and temptations, areas of objectives and unreal - yet no less horrifying - consequences. There's magic bursting at the seams within this tapestry, but danger also abounds, and Del Toro builds a formal language to show how staying on either side of the spectrum can yield individual ramifications.

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