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Re: [mythsoc] Pan's Labyrinth

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  • David Bratman
    Partial spoilers herein. I ve been away for the past week-plus, though I did manage to check in long enough to read the discussion of Pan s Labyrinth. Why
    Message 1 of 66 , Aug 29, 2007
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      Partial spoilers herein.

      I've been away for the past week-plus, though I did manage to check in long
      enough to read the discussion of Pan's Labyrinth.

      Why didn't this film bother me as it did Pat and Carl? Certainly the
      little girl does suffer greatly, and I thought her secondary-world
      apotheosis at the end was sufficiently artificial as to suggest a
      deliberate attempt by the film-makers to make the audience wonder whether
      it was in any sense "real" at all.

      But the fact that innocent, even innocent young, characters suffer is not
      in and of itself enough to condemn a film. The suffering of people is an
      essential ingredient in fiction.

      I accept, however, if a particular form of suffering pushes your "squick"
      button and makes it impossible for you to enjoy the film, so long as you
      don't label me callous for not reacting the same way. The spot in Pan's
      Labyrinth where I had to wince and turn away was the scene where the doctor
      starts to amputate the man's leg.

      However, suffering per se was not Pat's charge against the film. He
      thought it approached the level of "torture porn." Maybe that's the result
      of his "squick" button, because I don't see it. Lingering lovingly on the
      little girl in pain and torture ... no, it didn't do that. Inventing
      completely gratuitous and unnecessary plot twists for the sole purpose of
      having her suffer ... no, it didn't do that either.

      However, I have a question about the film's plot I'd like to put to the
      collective minds of the list.

      One of the girl's tasks involves passing by the banquet at which the
      eyeless man is sitting motionless. Although Pan had told her specifically
      not to eat anything, at possible peril of her life, she takes two grapes,
      and all heck breaks loose.

      The question is, why did she eat the grapes?

      One person with whom I discussed this pointed out that this was just after
      she'd been sent to bed without supper. I'd forgotten, when watching the
      banquet scene, that this had immediately preceded it. In any case, the
      girl didn't look ravenous. She looked more as if she was taking the grapes
      out of curiosity.

      But when Pan berates her afterwards for taking the grapes, her only
      response is to say, "I thought nothing would happen." That seems to me to
      contradict and disable any suggestion that she did take the grapes out of
      curiosity. Did she conclude that something bad would happen, and decided
      to make it happen in order to spice up an otherwise boring and simple task?
      Someone else suggested that possibility to me, but that doesn't seem credible.
    • Mike Foster
      In the cool light of day the morning after viewing this, Jo and I discovered that, while the movie was certainly wonderfully done, it was a bit off-putting for
      Message 66 of 66 , Sep 7, 2007
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        In the cool light of day the morning after viewing this, Jo and I
        discovered that, while the movie was certainly wonderfully done, it was
        a bit off-putting for the reasons Pat and Carl noted below-though, as
        noted before, the girl's fate was something I would much rather not have
        known in advance.

        As Jo said, "It's fine that good finally overcame evil, but did there
        have to be so much evil?" The ending, where the girl's death amounts to
        the saving of her brother and her final glimpse of a beatific heavenly
        vision with a God the Father (as well as David Crosby) lookalike seems
        to be an obvious Christian parallel.

        In reviewing this thread, especially the business with the grapes, it
        seems fitting to cite Chesterton's "The Ethics Of Elfland" and his
        Doctrine of Conditional Joy, where all good and evil hang on a random
        choice to do or not to do a simple deed: Eve's apple, Pandora's box.
        Tolkien mentions this in "On Fairy Stories." It certainly looms in the
        amplification of the power of the Ring from -The Hobbit- to -The Lord of
        the Rings-, where what had been a handy little talisman for Bilbo
        becomes life or death for Frodo. That's why Jackson's plot change from
        Faramir refusing to take the Ring from Frodo to the muddled digression
        to Osgiliath is one of the more egregious offenses in the screenplay.

        Mike

        -----Original Message-----
        From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
        Of Carl F. Hostetter
        Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 8:48 AM
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Pan's Labyrinth


        On Aug 22, 2007, at 8:22 AM, Patrick H. Wynne wrote:
        > watching a helpless adolescent girl (probably delusional)
        > being physically and psychologically abused for two hours, then shot
        > dead, is NOT my idea of a good time!
        >

        Boy howdy.

        > Am I the only one who absolutely loathed this film?
        >

        No, you are not.
        >



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