Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pan's Labyrinth

            The guest lecture by Dr. Deveny on the movie and history behind it was very different from our usual lecture. While we would often mention the background of the story and setting, we never drew that many connections between a tale and the historical meaning of it.
The movie reflected fantasy, historical, and coming of age elements which are also found in fairy tales but fairy tales use these elements in a different manner and not as expressly stated. For example the fantasy element translates to the use of magic found in a giving tree or talking animals. The historical context is found in the moral values the story incorporates as well as setting, but most often the morals of fairy tales are still applicable in any age. Last is the coming of age element which is found in many stories especially the Cinderella and Snow-White themed stories. In most cases a young girl has to leave her family, does some growing up, and is rewarded at the end.
Anyways, for Dr. Deveny’s lecture we looked at the movie plot as if it were a fairy tale, a tale that happened in the real life setting as well as the fairy world. Another interpretation of this could be that one is Ofelia’s imaginary world or unconscious while the other world is the real world. Either way, the political situation in Spain in the 1940’s gives the whole background of the story. The conflict between Capitain Videl’s soldiers and the Guerrilla fighters is what pushes the whole plot forward as well as influences the other characters’ roles. Ofelia’s violation of the induction not to eat in the underworld (Propp’s function 3) even reflects the historical idea that no one will go hungry in Franco-Spain. Other than incorporating historical facts in the movie, the director also uses a lot of fairy tale elements such as the three quests which Ofelia has to do to enter the fairy world (Propp’s function 10), as well as his use of fairies as guides (function 14) and the faun as a talking man/animal.
All together it was a very interesting take on how fairy tale elements and historical ideas are incorporated in movies. The movie actually included almost all of the functions.

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