Sunday, March 18, 2007

Labyrinthine

I celebrated a snowy St. Paddy's Day here in New York the only logical way: I enjoyed Burmese food in the company of Mr. Ben and a couple of his friends, and then (finally) saw Pan's Labyrinth. To kill time before the show, the group of us wandered around the upper-LES a bit, eventually venturing into Katz's Deli to see what there was to see. Although, like 3/4 of those assembled, I'd never been there before, I felt an odd sense of deja vu scanning the huge crowded cafeteria, attributable either to my connection to a Jewish oversoul or to my having seen When Harry Met Sally too many times.

I think I mentioned, I'd been afraid to see Pan's Labyrinth -- it turns out I had good reason. It's a beautiful film, really well-crafted from the sound effects on up, and, like Children of Men, it's a serious punch to the gut. In fact there are a number of similarities between the two movies, and um, *SPOILERS AHEAD*:

- violence, of course, the random senseless kind;
- the grim realities of life under fascism;
- the necessity of underground resistance movements, although that's dealt with with more complexity in COM;
- both have main characters who die at the end of the film while
- a baby lives on.
- COM is sent in the near future while PL was set in the recent past. Both arguably are about risks of today.

PL upset me more. It was harder to watch. A grown man giving his life for something, even one as lovely as Clive Owen, can't be as harrowing as a little girl giving her life for nothing. It took me a few minutes to get past my original emotional reaction to that and be able to appreciate the artistry and the creativity, the way that the same themes emerged in the real life storyline as did in the fantasy one. Not to mention the wonderful actress from Y Tu Mama Tambien for whom, at least, the movie ended well. That's some comfort.

2 comments:

Nate said...

PL had a hatred for cheeks.

Sarah said...

i liked both movies and also noted the similarities. i thought they were both extremely similar in their black and white moral views of the world. very simple morality, though god knows we probably need simple morality after all that "torture? why, that's not torture! that's national security!" hoopla.