El laberinto del fauno (original title)
Summary: The young, imaginative Ofelia is forced to live within the Spanish woods amongst Falangist Captain Vidal and his troops, who are hunting out Republican rebels fighting against their regime. Her pregnant mother is partner to the Captain and is becoming increasingly ill, leaving little patience for Ofelia’s creative visions and fantasies. One night however, Ofelia follows a stick insect she believes to be a fairy into an ancient Labyrinth and meets a faun. He recognises her as the Princess of the Underworld and asks her to complete three tough tasks to prove her immortal place on the throne, alongside her father the King.
My Review: Despite this being the film to make Guillermo del Toro’s name in Western cinema, this is still my favourite film of his and indeed agree it’s a “spiritual successor” to The Devil’s Backbone (2001). Both films, although unlinked, place a young child lead deep within the effects of War, following directions from ‘the Underworld’; whether that be through characters of their own invention, or unseeable to others. It’s down to you to decide if the labyrinth, the faun and the tasks Ofelia strives to complete is all in her own imagination or not, but it’s hard to ignore the dark beauty of its magical creatures and settings. Del Toro’s gothic nightmares flourished into an albeit dark, but wonderful dream.
My Rating: 3.5/5