Magic against Fascism

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Reality and
fantasy world get mixed in the last work of director Guillermo del Toro: Pan´s
Labyrinth
, being the second of his films framed on times of post civil
war in Spain,
after his terror tale in an isolated orphanage in The Devil's Backbone
(2001).  

The film is
visually astonishing, with detailed and marvellous scenarios that catch totally
the attention of the spectator in the fantasy sequences, all seen through the
eyes of Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) who turns to be one of the youngest
revelations of Spanish cinema. But the narration has undoubtedly its best
moments when the very real characters step into screen. The cast of Spanish
well known actors is simply magnificent, with an excellent Álex Angulo
as the rebel rural doctor and one none less excellent and more mature Maribel
Verdú
, far from the usual erotic roles of years ago. All of them turning
around Ofelia's stepfather, Captain Vidal interpreted by Sergi Lopez in
a superb role  as a violent fascist who
has to face the guerrilla hidden in the mountains of north Spain 4 years after
the end of the Civil War. Lopez is almost better known in France than in Spain and after
this praising work, it is about time that his skills get more recognized
internationally.

The film is
a beautiful cry in favour of the liberty and the hope in own believes until the
end, surrounded by a fairytale atmosphere. But do not get mistaken, this is not
a film to offer to your children while eating popcorns in front of the TV set.
Violence is often and brutally present all over the film, and the final is not exactly
what you would call “happy made in Hollywood”.
All in all, Del Toro has achieved a very difficult task: fidelity with history in
a film where historical happenings are wrapped into a fabulous atmosphere,
achieving a product that can satisfy equally to fans of American and European
cinema. Brilliant!