Posts Tagged ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’

Not many people have seen Guillermo Del Toro’s masterpiece Pan’s Labyrinth. Shame on you, mankind.  Maybe you were too lazy to read the subtitles and you missed one of the best movies of last decade. Del Toro has an immense imagination and his monstrous creations are very original and pretty scary (that pale man is freaky/fascinating stuff).

Here is the trailer for the film, go watch it. Now. Afterwards, discussion with spoilers.

The story is set during the time of the Spanish Civil War in 1944. Brutal times, in case you did not know. The plot follows a girl called Ofelia, as she and her pregnant mother move to live her stepfather, a violent and mean captain of the governmental fascist forces. There are rebels living nearby and things do get pretty brutal. Oh ye of faint heart, beware.

The film is achingly beautiful and at times, very, very scary. I will say it again: pale man. Worthy of notice is also the stunning soundtrack with its main lullaby being one for the ages. I want to play that thing on a piano one of these days.

We can draw very interesting parallels and contrasts between the story and the Bible. Of course, Del Toro is not trying to do a Christian movie at all; he nevertheless touches in truths that are eternal and that can be compared to Biblical teachings.

Ofelia, full of fear and uncertainty as she moves to her new home, begins to encounter mysterious, fairy like creatures. As she wanders in the woods she begins to come in touch with magic creatures who tell her about her true nature; that of a princess from another realm who has been living on Earth. Yet, in order to verify if her essence is intact, she needs to complete three tasks before the full moon. The film is rather dubious over whether Ofelia really is a princess and those fantastic beings really exist or if that is simply stuff from her imagination to help her deal with the world.

We who live in this Earth are naturally blind to a higher reality of who we are, who we were made to be and whom we can become. As with Ofelia, we are naturally incapable of seeing who we are; because of the Fall we deny the existence and attributes of the true God, refusing to give him glory (Rm 1:18-25). We deny our place as image of God as we deny his divinity and rule. It is only by external revelation that we are able to truly comprehend our place in the planet and the reality of the spiritual world. While the Faun wants to investigate whether Ofelia’s essence is intact by giving her tasks to accomplish, we know that our essence is corrupt because we have already fallen in our first task. The tasks help us understand fear, greed and even temptation. Let’s leave these to another post.

Ofelia behaves and thinks differently than those around her because she is aware of a reality that is unseen to all the others. Her actions, her goals and her methods make no sense to those who are not aware of what she believes to be true. She marches by another drummer. As believers in Christ, we also live by things which are not seen; we behave based on an old story that dictates the true comprehension of how the world works; and very often people are clueless about why we do the things we do.

In her final task, in order to reach her true kingdom, Ofelia has to shed innocent blood, which she refuses to do – and that decision costs her own blood. In this way she proves herself to be a true queen and is given access to the kingdom. Of course, in our case, no matter how much we would be willing to shed our own blood, it would never be enough precisely because “our essence” is not pure anymore, it is tainted with sin. In this way, the innocent’s blood is inevitable to grant us access to the kingdom and make us into who we were called to be from eternity.  In times of martyrdom, it is important to know that similar to Ofelia, death is not at all simply a bloody painful and miserable end, but the beginning of the true story in which we will reign with Christ.

Emilio’s Christmas Flicks

Posted: December 2, 2011 by Emilio Garofalo Neto in Seasonal, Uncategorized
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Well, here is my take in the list of movies to watch during Christmas season. John Perritt did a great job at finding good stuff for his list and decorating it; mine in comparison is, let’s say, meek and mild.

You need to understand something first: I am from Brazil, a country situated in the so called Southern Hemisphere. In this way the seasons here happen in opposite order as in the USA. So Christmas here happens during Summer. We do not have a Christmas school break in which we have a nice movie/family season to watch flicks drinking hot chocolate while the snow falls. Christmas is right in the middle of summer break, so the movie tradition here is much smaller; we are too busy playing in the water. And of course, being hot weather things are quite different: Santa sweats like a maniac, we go to the beach during Xmas and so on. Another disclaimer: I find Christmas movies usually to be pretty bad. Rare exceptions. I know what you are thinking: “grinch-hearted blogger.”

My favorites, in no particular order:

The Grinch stole the Christmas

Not Jim Carrey’s live-action, but the old cartoon. Perritt also mentioned this (he may have telepathically stolen the idea from my head). Man, I used to watch this thing every year. I remember something funky about his heart being small and that used to freak me out mightily. Need to rewatch this one.

Pan’s Labyrinth

This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love it dearly. I will, one of those days, write a post on it. This is a good movie that I like to watch every year, and usually at this season. It is set in Spanish and it is well worth the effort of reading some subtitles. Guillermo Del Toro at his finest. Behold the trailer

The nightmare before Christmas

Tim Burton wrote (but not directed) this lunacy, this creepy story full of interesting stuff. And of weird stuff. It involves the idea of a man (?!) that finds out about the Xmas season and suggests to his people replacing Halloween with Christmas; and the many decidedly weird things and characters that accompany it. Just watch it.


Remember: Brazil-December-Summer. So this is the kind of thing we would watch at beach/Christmas season, and of course, decide to stay in the sand. Like scared little girls. At least we had soccer.


Another one that used to spook me. They showed this every year in December. All those rules. I was always a bit concerned that someone would gift me a Gizmo and I would end up messing up the rules, feeding him in the wrong time, getting him wet and all that… OS Gremlins, a true nightmare before Christmas. I know grown adults who only watched this as children and who were so spooked that they refuse to see it today, in which occasion they would sigh with relief at discovering that the movie is funnier than scarier.


Bill Murray is the man. Here he has to deal with the wickedness of his ways and heart. Lovely and funny movie. The ghosts of Xmas past are there to teach him what life is about. And if you are not careful, you may learn a lesson or two yourself…

Die Hard

This classic, #epicwin action movie is set during Christmas. Of course, people are too busy running to and from terrorists to bother with mistletoe, but the delicious movie uses several Christmas songs and is quite good, having set the tone for action movies for decades now. It has a magnificent villain; superb action; it has great phrases, such as “Ho Ho Ho now I have a machine gun.” So, there. Here are some videos of scenes from DH 1 and DH2 coupled with the Xmas song I hate the most (warning, there is some red syrup that looks like blood in the video).