Thursday, November 23, 2006

Pans Labyrinth

Fascinating article about director Guillermo del Toro and his new film pans labyrinth, the story of Ofélia, an 11-year-old girl whose mother marries a fascist army commander in Franco-era Spain and copes with the murderous reality that surrounds her by escaping into her own fantastical dream world.

"I would say cinema saved my life. Literally," he enthuses. "In 1997 my father was kidnapped and I think, maybe, the epiphany of film fantasy saved my life. When you are suffering that sort of despair and anger it affects you in a physical way. You are burning with rage. You have palpitations. You have heart pains. I was writing a script of The Count of Monte Cristo and the rage in there lifted a weight off my own shoulders. Then sometimes, when you are in despair, just seeing a movie can transport you somewhere else and save you."

It is worth saying here that, on the surface, del Toro could not seem any less tormented. A jolly, articulate man, who speaks terrifyingly fluent English, he comes across like a magnified teenage comic fan with more facial hair and a better vocabulary. Yet he admits to a classically conflicted Catholic childhood. His grandmother, left in charge of the boy while his parents gallivanted, was so appalled by his affection for all things horrible that she twice arranged for his exorcism."

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