Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bigas Luna 1946 - 2013

Spanish filmmaker Bigas Luna, who discovered actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, has died at age 67 after a private battle with leukemia. The director, writer, producer leaves behind some 20 films, including the classics 'Jamón, Jamón' and 'Las edades de Lulú.' Despite his illness, he worked until the end on his latest project: 'Segundo Origen.'

José Juan Bigas Luna was born on March 19, 1946 in Barcelona, although he later settled in the village of La Riera de Gaia, where he died yesterday. After studying architecture and interior design, Luna started working in film in the 70s. He directed his first feature, 'Tatoo,' in 1976. He initially gained recognition in 1978 for his movie 'Bilbao,' which was selected to compete in the Cannes Film Festival. 

In 1990 the director shot to international fame with the then controversial movie 'Las Edades de Lulu,' adapted from the novel of the same name. Javier Bardem has a small part in the film, one of his first appearances on screen.

In 1992 came 'Jamón, Jamón,' the film which gave Bardem and Penelope Cruz their first starring roles. For this picture Luna was awarded the Jury Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival and the Silver Lion at the Venice International Film Festival. In 1994 he returned to Venice with 'La Teta y la Luna' and won the Golden Osella for best screenplay. In 1998 he won another prize for his writing, this time a Spanish Academy Award (Goya) for the script of 'La femme de chambre du Titanic.'

Luna gave other actors big breaks, including Elsa Pataky, Jordi Molla, Ariadna Gil, and Veronica Echegui. His most recent films were 'Yo soy la Juani' (2006) and 'Di Di Hollywood' (2010), which starred Echegui and Pataki, respectively.

Besides Spanish and Catalan, Luna made films in English, ('Reborn' 1981 and 'Anguish' 1987), Italian (Bámbola 1996), and French ('La femme de chambre du Titanic 1997').

In addition to being a filmmaker, Luna also achieved notoriety as a painter, designer and a conceptual artist. His works in all mediums typically contained high doses of sensuality, eroticism and references to food, all mixed together in dazzling combinations.

Luna reportedly worked tirelessly to the end. The film he was working on at the time of his death, 'Segundo Origen,' was perhaps his most ambitious project. It is a post-apocalyptic tale filmed in 3D with a budget of about ten million euros. According to Spanish media reports, his family has announced that the film will be finished and will be dedicated to Luna's recently born grandson. 

In keeping with his wishes there will be no public funeral or memorial event. Luna will be buried in Tarragona, Spain.


In today's El País newspaper there are tributes from several people, including Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz. In his article, entitled, 'Papá Bigas' Bardem says:

I do not know what to say, or how. And much less write it. To Bigas I owe a woman I love, two soul mates and a career that I never dreamed I could have. What can I add to the eternal and profound gratitude I feel towards him? Only the immense love I have for someone who was always noble, free, good, loving and light ... That emotional lightness of Bigas that many of us envied! An intelligent man who I remember always choosing a smile, love, and a good piece of ham over drama and anguish in the face of any difficulty. How marvelous that light soul with the body of a bear...*
In 'La Película Que Me Cambío La Vida' (The Film That Changed My Life) Cruz remembers going to the casting call for 'Las Edades de Lulu' at age 14:
A man with a mischievous look came out of a room. He was called Bigas Luna and I (secretly) had already seen some of his films. The first thing Bigas asked me was my age. I said I was 17 and he laughed in my face, as always very gently and without making me feel bad, and said: “Well, you can't make this movie but I'll call you for another when you're older.”
I went home thinking that, of course, he'd never call me, but also pleased by the respect and affection with which this man who looked like a bear had treated me. The big surprise came nearly three years later. The phone rang and I got a call that made me believe in miracles. Bigas remembered me and wanted me for his next film. The film that changed my life.*
* Translations mine.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Viral Agoraphobia Leads to 'The Last Days' in New Spanish Film, 'Los Últimos Días'

What if agoraphobia were contagious -- and lethal? That's the question the Pastor brothers, David and Alex (Carriers, 2009), imagine an answer to in their latest film, Los Últimos Días (The Last Days.)

This apocalyptic story unfolds in present day Barcelona as a worldwide epidemic leaves streets emptied and people trapped in homes, offices, shopping centers, etc. due to a morbid fear of simply stepping outside. Indeed, the adverse reaction to going out is so strong that individuals who do convulse and die after stepping only a few feet out the door. The result: a world in total chaos.

Months after the pandemic strikes, high-tech staff stuck in a powerless high-rise office building are struggling to survive as food and water runs low. They work together in shifts to escape their prison by digging their way into the tunnels of the metro, power and sewage systems below. After successfully breaking through, two very different characters are suddenly thrown together and make an agreement to travel jointly through the bowels of the city as they head for their destinations. 

Marc (Quim Gutiérrez), is a young computer programmer who desperately wants to find the pregnant girlfriend he argued with before leaving for work on the day the virus finally paralyzed the world. Enrique (Jose Coronado), is a cut-throat human resources consultant who had been brought in to clean up the company by forcing Marc and others seen as under-performers to shape-up or ship-out. Exactly who or what Enrique is after is initially a mystery to Marc -- and to the audience.

We follow this odd-couple making their way through dark and dingy passageways with surprises lurking around nearly every curve. As they push forward, they manage to get into a metro station, an apartment building, a mall, a skyscraper and a church, where they come across others who are on journeys like theirs, crowds huddling together in a semblance of community, gangs of criminals, families who are trying to stick together, as well as assorted animals -- big and small.

The movie does not focus on the how or the why of the pandemic. Through flashbacks we catch bits and pieces of news reports about ash from a volcano in Iceland and increasing cases of agoraphobia, panic and suicides, and as things get worse we hear reassurances from the authorities meant to calm the masses. Instead the directors explore how humanity might react to such a tragedy, which in the case of Marc is simply to try to reunite with a loved one, without giving much thought about what he might do after. Enrique is looking for something or someone, too, but in addition he shows signs of thinking ahead to what very basic things they will need to survive.

The special effects are excellent. The eerie scenes of a Barcelona abandoned by its inhabitants and increasingly reclaimed by nature brought to mind the London of 28 Weeks Later and New York of I Am Legend.

The performances are equally impressive. Veteran actor Jose Coronado blends the right amount of ruthlessness and humanity into the character of Enrique. Quim Gutierrez, who jumped from soap operas to the big screen a few years ago, portrays Marc with a sort of naivete and innocence that makes his journey believable.

All in all, a well-made and very entertaining film.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dicatado / Childish Games - Trailer and Synopsis

In Dictado* (English title Childish Games), the latest film from Spanish director Antonio Chavarrías (Las vidas de Celia/ The Lives of Celia 2006,  Volverás / You'll Be Back 2002), Juan Diego Botto and Bárbara Lennie play Daniel and Laura, a childless couple confronted by an unusual situation after Mario, a childhood friend of Daniel's, turns up out of the blue acting strangely and wanting them to come with him to meet his 7 year-old child, Julia. Daniel manages to get rid of him, but he is obviously distressed by the encounter. That night Mario takes his own life in front of his daughter.

When the couple reads of Mario’s suicide in the newspaper the next day, Laura convinces Daniel they should attend the funeral. There, they meet Julia (Mágica Pérez) and learn that with her father's death she has become an orphan. A social worker explains that they have not been able to find any family members. At Laura's insistence, Daniel eventually agrees to taking the child into their home temporarily, despite his discomfort not only with the circumstances, but also with Laura's excessive enthusiasm at playing the role of mother. The tension builds as Laura tries to help Julia regain the will to live and Daniel begins to feel increasingly threatened by some of the young girl's behaviors, which are awakening memories of a terrible past involving Mario and his sister Clara -- a past that he thought he had put behind him.

The film has received mixed reviews in Spain. On the positive side, it has been compared favorably by some critics to well known suspense films, including Hitchcock's Vertigo. However, most critiques I have read end up with complaints about a lack of chills. I saw the movie recently and while I wouldn't call it great, I thoroughly enjoyed it and found the number of frights sufficient -- but then maybe I have a lower chill threshold than people who watch movies for a living.

*The title Dictado is the name of a children's song Daniel hears both Julia and Clara sing.

Cross posted at Carloz Newsvine. Comments accepted there.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Among Wolves: Director's Personal Tale Of Search For Man Who Grew Up In The Wild As Intriguing As His Film

EntreLobos (AmongWolves), the excellent new movie by Spanish director Gerardo Olivares, tells the remarkable story of a poor country boy named Marcos, who at the age of 7 is handed over to his father's employer, a rich landowner, who in turn delivers him to a life of labor with a hermitic goatherd in an isolated valley. The old man, who lives in a cave, is unused to human company and at first seems not very interested in having a live-in apprentice. The boy, who was abused by his parents, is frightened and equally aloof initially. Despite this, the shepherd begins teaching Marcos how to herd the goats, as well as how to care for himself and how to survive in the wilderness by trapping and fishing.

The two develop an affection for each other, and the boy befriends the goatherd's animal companions: a ferret, a civet, and an owl. Unfortunately, the goatherd soon becomes ill and dies, leaving Marcos to fend for himself. For the next twelve years he has virtually no contact with human beings, but does make additional animal friends - the wolves of a nearby den.

This beautiful film is based on the incredible experiences of Marcos Rodríguez Pantoja, who lived alone in the Sierra Morena mountains from 1953 to 1965, when he was captured by members of Spain's Guardia Civil and returned to civilization at 19 years of age. But there's another intriguing narrative connected to all of this: the story of how the director found his hero.

According to a post on Olivares' blog, he came across the story in January 2007, after reading in a newspaper about a girl who spent twenty years lost in the Cambodian jungle. The article contained the web address, a site with more accounts of children who grew up with animals. Being in the story telling business, Olivares clicked on the link thinking it might be a good place to find an interesting tale.

There he found more than 100 documented cases of children who were either confined by their parents, abandoned, or lost in the wild, but who lived thanks to their instinct for survival. These reports included that of 7 year old Traian Caldaro, a Romanian boy who hid in the mountains of Transylvania for three years in order to escape an abusive home, and the story of Reverend Joseph Singh, a missionary in India who discovered feral twin girls living with a pack of wolves in the jungle.

Olivares was reading through the histories on the list when he noticed a Spanish name, Marcos Pantoja, followed by the location Sierra Morena, Spain. Sensing that a good story might be hiding behind these details, he clicked over to a page full of information that he soon realized contained the perfect ingredients for a movie script.

Olivares says that when he finished reading the report, he put his head in his hands, and hoped Pantoja was still alive. If the information was correct, he would have been 62 years old.

He saw a small black and white photo on the top right hand side of the page, and below that a box with the words "Learn more about Marcos Pantoja at ..." and the title of a book: "Marcos: Wild Child of the Sierra Morena." He clicked and found the name of the author, Gabriel Janer Manila, the publisher, Prometheus Books, and a link to purchase it. He ordered a second-hand copy for $6 from a bookstore in Portland, Oregon, then typed the name of Marcos Pantoja in Google, but nothing came up. Next he tried entering the name of the book's author, and found him listed as a professor of anthropology and sociology at the University of the Balearic Islands. He sent the professor an email asking if they could meet, and received a reply a few days later inviting Olivares to come to his office in Palma de Mallorca.

The meeting with Dr. Manila shored up the amazing details of the story, supported by the anthropologist's doctoral thesis, the subsequently published book, and the fact that British playwright Kevin Lewis had written a play called Marcos, about the young man's social reintegration process.

Nevertheless, as incredible as the tale was, it had seemed to have fallen into oblivion. Not only was there not much of a trace on the web, but Dr. Manila had not heard any news of Pantoja for 15 years, and thought he might be dead. "Gerard, Marcos was a very fragile man who suffered much, so do not be surprised if his life has ended tragically," he told the director.

A few weeks later Olivares was sitting in the office of the mayor of Añora, the town where Pantoja was born. The mayor had never heard his story, and initially had difficulty believing it. However, she did a little research and came up with his birth certificate, the address of the house where he had been born and even a family member, who told Olivares that the last time she had heard of her cousin had been 13 years earlier. At that time he was living in a cave near Alhaurín, in the Andalusian province of Malaga. She had gone to look for him, but could not find him and was told by someone who worked in a bar he frequented that he had not been seen around there in a while.
Olivares worried that perhaps like the cousin he had reached a dead end in his search – but he was not ready to give up. He was planning to continue his research by visiting Alhaurín when his producer José María Morales suggested hiring a private detective.

Apparently Morales knew a woman who had recently hired an investigator to find out if her husband was having an affair, and within 24 hours of doing so was presented with photographs of him in a compromising situation. Olivares thought, "Why not," called the detective, and gave him the pertinent information. Later that same night he received a call telling him not to bother going to Alhaurín because Pantoja was living in the town of Orense, in the region of Galica - and here was his phone number. Olivares says that he was so thrilled by the news that when he hung up the phone his hands were shaking.

Here is a translation of his description of what happened when he called the number:
The phone rang several times before someone with a Galician accent answered on the other end. I introduced myself and asked if Marcos, the man who was isolated in the Sierra Morena for 12 years, lived there. The man was silent for a few seconds before answering.
"Yes, he lives here, but what do you want?
I explained in detail that after discovering his story I had spent almost a year looking for him, about Gabriel the anthropologist, about visiting his house in Añora, and that there were family members who wanted to know how he was.
"I don't know if he will want to talk to you, but call back in ten minutes."
I didn't wait even three minutes before calling back, I was so anxious to talk to Marcos.
It was him, and on hearing his voice at last, I choked up. I felt a lump in my throat and could hardly speak.

"Hello paisano, I've spent nearly a year looking for you ... Finally I've found you."
Marcos let out a laugh.
"I've met some of your family who have also been trying to find you..."
He was silent and then replied:
"Well, my life has been hard..."
"I know. I'd like to meet you and talk at length."
"Then come around here, I live in... But how did you find me?"
"Tomorrow I can tell you the whole story in person, if it's not inconvenient"
"Tomorrow? Okay, no problem for me."
I hung up the phone and sat in silence, just smiling for a while. The next day, I was finally going to meet Marcos.
Ten months had passed since Olivares had first read about the little Spanish boy who found himself alone in the wild and survived thanks to the lessons of a destitute goatherd and the friendship of wolves. Over the next two years Marcos Rodríguez Pantoja cooperated with the director on the filming of his fascinating story. He appears in the last scene of the movie, as himself - happily playing with a wolf on a mountainside.

EntreLobos (Among Wolves), 2010, written and directed by Gerardo Olivares, starring Juan José Ballesta, Carlos Bardem, and Manuel Camacho. Music by Klaus Bedelt and Andrew Reiher.

Cross posted at Carloz Newsvine. Comments accepted there.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Goyas: Benecio, Carme, Penélope, Jordi, Santiago, Juan and Javier

What a great Goya night! It was an evening of firsts, including an acting award for an American and directing honors for a Spaniard of African descent.

Benicio del Toro won the best actor award for his role in the Steven Soderbergh film, "Che." The native of Puerto Rico was greeted warmly by the audience, including shouts of, "¡GUAPO!" Del Toro thanked Soderbergh, the movie's director, as well as Sean Penn for his help and support.

A veteran of the Spanish cinema industry, Carme Elías, won her first Goya as best actress for her role in "Camino." This controversial movie about the final days of the terminally ill daughter of a religious family is “inspired” by real events. It won 6 awards in total, including best supporting actor for Catalan, Jordi Dauder.

Penélope Cruz won her third Goya for her role in Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." This was the first time she won the award as supporting actress, rather than best actress, and her first Goya for a non-Spanish speaking role. Cruz, who is also nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar, had to fly out immediately after the award show in order to attend an event honoring Academy Award nominees in Los Angeles on Monday.

The best new director nod went to Santiago Zannou for "El Truco de del Manco." ("The One Armed Trick.") The film tells the story of a disabled young man who, with the help of a friend, tries to realize his dream of opening a music studio. Zannou, the first Afro-Spaniard to win a Goya, also wrote the script. The production won three awards in total, including best song and best new actor, Juan Manuel 'El Langui' Montilla.

Screenwriter and director Javier Fesser collected awards for best original screenplay and best director for the previously mentioned "Camino." "Camino" also won the Goya for best film of the year, beating out "The Oxford Murders," "Los Girasoles Ciegos," and "Sólo Quiero Caminar."

The Goya's are awarded each year by the Spanish Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences. (Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España.)

For a complete list of Goya winners, click here.

Hasta la proxima, amig@s,


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Penélope Cruz nominated for an Oscar

The nominations for the 81st annual Academy Awards were announced a short while ago, and Penélope Cruz was one of the names called out. Pe is nominated for best supporting actress for her role as a troubled painter in Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." This is Pe's second Oscar nomination, having previously been a best actress nominee for "Volver" in 2006. This year she will face previous supporting actress winner Marisa Tomei ("The Wrestler"), Amy Adams ("Doubt") and Oscar first-timers Viola Davis ("Doubt") and Taraji P. Henson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button").

The only other Hispanic to receive a nomination was the USA's Frank A. Montaño, for best sound editing on the film "Wanted." Montaño shared the nomination with his colleagues Chris Jenkins and Petr Forejt.

Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences president Sid Ganis and former best actor Oscar winner Forest Whitaker ("The Last King of Scotland") announced the nominees today just before dawn in Los Angeles. The Oscars will be presented Feb. 22 and televised worldwide. Actor Hugh Jackman will be this year's host.

For a complete list of the nominations, click here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Award Season's Greetings from Goya, Oscar, et al

With another Christmas and New Year's celebration gone by, film fans are now enjoying the festive annual award season. So far we have been treated to presentations from Golden Globes, Critics Choice and various circles, guilds and groups, in what amounts to the big build up to the Oscars, whose nominations have not even been revealed yet.

Here in España, meanwhile, the contenders for Los Premios Goya, Spain's Academy Awards, were announced in December. The Spanish statuettes, small bronze busts of the artist Francisco de Goya, will be handed out to winners during a televised awards show on February 1st.

As a preview to that event, last weekend the Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España (Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences) held its traditional reception to honor the nominees, which this year include Mexico's Benicio del Toro, for best actor in “Che: El Argentino,” and Penélope Cruz, for best supporting actress in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” Although neither of those two internationally known stars were at the late night gathering in Madrid, hundreds of Spain's cinema industry members attended the event to mix, mingle, plug and pose.

The most photographed seem to have been good friends and best actress rivals, Ariadna Gil and Maribel Verdú. (See photo above.) In comments about the Goyas, Gil ("Sólo Quiero Caminar") gave reporters the classic, “the nomination is what is important,” line, while Verdú ("Los Girasloes Ciegos") added an equally traditional "a nomination always surprises." She then went on to predict that neither of them would win: "I believe that this year they are going to give it to Carme Elias" for her role in “Caminar.”

Other attendees included all of this year's best director nominees Álex de la Iglesias ("The Oxford Murders"), Javier Fesser ("Camino"), José Luis Cuerda ("Los Girasloes Ciegos"), and Agustín Díaz Yanes (Sólo Quiero Caminar). De la Iglesias was quoted as saying he was "frankly pleased" with the six nominations for "Oxford," which was filmed in Britain with an English script, and a mostly non-Spanish cast and crew. He failed, however, to shed any light on how such a tepid thriller could be singled out for any honors, in any country.

More understandable are the multiple nominations received by four other films. "Los Girasoles Ciegos" garnared a total of 15 nominations, while "Solo Quiero Caminar" picked up 11, and "Camino" and “Sangre de Mayo” each received seven.

"Los Girasoles Ciegos" (“The Blind Sunflowers”), which stars Maribel Verdú and Javier Camara, is based on a popular novel by the same name. This post-Spanish civil war tragedy tells the story of a priest who romantically pursues a war widow. This movie received nominations in all of the major categories, as well as in a number of technical ones such as costumes, editing, make-up and sound.

"Solo Quiero Caminar" (“Just Walking”) is a visceral crime thriller about four female bank robbers (Pilar Lopez de Ayala, Ariadna Gil, Victoria Abril, and Elena Anaya) whose latest caper leads them into a confrontation with Mexico City's crime syndicate. Mexico's Diego Luna is the male lead in this one.

"Camino," (“The Way”) is about the final days of the terminally ill daughter of a religious family. The story was “inspired” by a real child, Alexia González Barros, who in 1985 died of a rare illness at the age of 14, and who is currently in the Catholic church's canonization process. Its nominations include best film, director, original script, and new actress, Nerea Camacho. (Each year the Goya's honor a best new actress and best new actor, as well as a best new director.)

“Sangre De Mayo” ("The Blood of May") is a period piece set during the Madrid street uprising against Napoleon's troops that started on May 2, 1808. The movie was released during the bicentennial observance of this event. Among its seven nominations is one for best supporting actress for Tina Sainz.

The best actor and actress categories are being watched closely, since the co-stars of two of 2008's biggest films are all in competition. This has pit Maribel Verdú and Raúl Arévalo of “Los Girasoles Ciegos” against Ariadna Gil and Diego Luna of “Sólo Quiero Caminar.”

The best supporting actress category is also generating a lot of interest, and not only in Spain. This is, of course, due to the nomination of Penélope Cruz, or “Pe” as she is affectionately known by the Spanish media. The Goya nomination is one of several others she has received this year, all of which contribute to the Oscar buzz she has been getting for her performance in Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." (By the way, if there is an award anywhere for worst movie title, don't you think this one deserves a nod?)

Pe, who already has two best actress Goya's for La Niña de Tus Ojos (1998) and Volver (2006), has so far this season won honors from critics' associations in Boston, Los Angeles and New York, as well as from the USA's National Board of Review of Motion Pictures; then this past Thursday she was nominated for a BAFTA, Britain's Academy Award. However, with her recent losses to Kate Winslet at the Golden Globe and VH1 Critic's Choice awards, some may wonder if her momentum has slowed.

On January 22nd, when the American Academy Award nominees are finally announced, her fans will learn if Pe makes the Oscar cut. Then on February 1st we will see who receives Spain's top film industry accolades, including whether or not Pe will collect her third Goya -- this time for a supporting role in an English language film.

Hasta entonces amig@s,


P.S. For a list of Goya nominees, click here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Gothic Fable: "El Laberinto del Fauno" ("Pan's Labyrinth")

2006's “El Laberinto del Fauno(“Pan's Labyrinth”*), written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, is quite simply one of the best films of recent years. Fantastic in terms of genre and quality, this Mexican-Spanish production depicts the phantasmagoric adventures of Ophelia (Ivana Baquero), a 13-year-old girl in 1944 Spain -- five years after the official end of the civil war, but a time when guerrilla warfare was still being waged.

The movie opens with the narration of a brief fairy tale about a princess from an underground land who escapes to the earth's surface. This is followed by scenes of Ophelia and her widowed, pregnant mother, Carmen (Ariadna Gil), traveling to a village in Northwestern Spain to live with the new man in their lives, Vidal (Sergi López). Vidal is a cruel captain in dictator Franco's army, who is stationed with his men in the town in order to wipe out the vestiges of republican resistance fighters hiding in the mountains. While he is happy to welcome his expectant wife, Vidal shows little interest in or affection for stepdaughter. However, Ophelia strikes up a friendly relationship with the kindly housekeeper, Mercedes (Maribel Verdú), and the sympathetic local doctor (Alex Angulo), and soon discovers that the two of them are aiding the resistance fighters.

Ophelia, who enjoys reading fantasies, one day comes upon a walking-stick insect and follows it to the ruins of a labyrinth. Later that night the insect appears in her bedroom, where it turns into a fairy before leading her back to the labyrinth. This time she she meets a strange looking creature there, a faun (Doug Jones), who tells Ophelia that he believes she is in reality the princess from the narrative that opened the film, the last of her royal line, and that he and other creatures of her magical kingdom have been waiting for her return. He explains that in order to re-enter her realm, she must pass three challenges before the next full moon. As the viewer follows Ophelia on the quests the faun has set for her, a wonderful fantasy world combines with the harsh reality of the era to create a tale full of adventure and emotion that weaves its way towards a deadly, but lovely, climax.

The film, which won numerous awards, is in my opinion technically and artistically flawless. The costumes, make up and sets are out of this world. The music is hauntingly memorable. Ivana Baquero, the young actress who carries the movie as Ophelia, turns in a perfect performance. Sergi López embodies the evils of the military in a dictatorship through his portrayal of the vile Captain Vidal. Maribel Verdú is admirable and touching as the servant/spy, and the other supporting cast members all give excellent performances, as well.

If you have not seen “El Laberinto del Fauno,” I hope that one day you get a chance to experience this exquisite film, which not only suceeds as an intriguing fantasy, fable, adventure, and thriller, but also a moving homage to those who defied fascism in some of the darkest years of the 20th century.

Disfrutadlo amig@s,


* The title translates literally as, "The Labyrinth of the Faun," but was released in English speaking countries as, “Pan's Labyrinth”, despite del Toro's saying that the character of the faun had nothing to do with the creature from Greek mythology.