Re: [mythsoc] Pan's Labyrinth (spoilers for Pan's Labyrinth, of course)
- David Bratman writes:
>However, suffering per se was not Pat's charge against the film. HeFWIW, I agree. There's a lot of suffering in this movie, but none of
>thought it approached the level of "torture porn." Maybe that's the result
>of his "squick" button, because I don't see it.
it is gratuitous (I had issues with the scene with the two hunters,
actually -- but again, not gratuitous, but an important character
note), and the way it handles the levels is interesting.
>One of the girl's tasks involves passing by the banquet at which theIndeed.
>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.
In a way, of course, the reason she takes two grapes is that she was
-meant- to take them. This is the part of the test where the hero
(ine) is destined to fail, and if this means the grapes are
dramatically or magically attractive, then so be it.
That said, that's not really sufficient -- it's important that the
plot must work internally as well as externally. On that level, I'm
not sure the best argument is that it was an unconcious act of
defiance -- she's getting hit with autocrats in both the magical and
mundane world, and while she can't defy her stepfather (hmm. Hadn't
thought of the evil stepfather angle) without consequences to her
loved ones, the apparent consequences of this act of defiance are
And really, the consequences -are- minimal -- unless I misremember,
the death of her mother is due to external interference, not her
defiance, and the plan has -always- been that she'd be tested (or was
it a foul ritual rather than a test? Always the question) by being
asked to sacrifice her brother. So while her defiance brings things
into the "bereft" stage of her test, it doesn't really change that
Joshua Kronengold (mneme@(io.com, labcats.org)) |\ _,,,--,,_ ,)
--^-- "Did you know, if you increment enough, you /,`.-'`' -, ;-;;'
/\\ get an extra digit?" "I knew," weeps Six. |,4- ) )-,_ ) /\
/-\\\ "We knew. But we had forgotten." '---''(_/--' (_/-'
- 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.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf
Of Carl F. Hostetter
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 8:48 AM
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!
> Am I the only one who absolutely loathed this film?
No, you are not.
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