What do I look for in a fantasy? Something so removed from reality that it just becomes real. An extension of my life, my brains. Barring one film, I've never really seen anything that qualifies for that kind of fantasy. Guillermo del Torro's Pan's Labyrinth or El labertino del fauno is a film that can put many fantasy films to sleep.
Forget Harry Potter or any other bizarre unrealistic fantasy stories that's been woven - this film captures the very essence of real meeting unreal.
Set during the post civil war in Spain in 1944, when the rebels were still fighting the fascist troops, Ofelia travels with her pregnant and sick mother Carmen to the country to meet her step father Captain Vidal for the first time.
If you remember Amon Goethe (played by Ralph Fiennes) in Schindler's List, you'd find a terrible similarity between the two characters.
Incapable of any human feelings, Captain Vidal's whole agenda is to clear his area of any rebels and establish the fascist government.
Unable to tolerate the misgivings of this cruel man, Ofelia disappears, into a world of her won, far away from her current life.
She meets a fairy who leads her to a fawn, who tells her that Ofelia was a princess reborn and she must perform three tests to prove her royalty and only then, she can come back to her kingdom where her real father and mother are waiting for her. Ofelia accepts these tasks, and in the midst of war, torture from her step father, death of her mother, she sets out to find her port key from a world that she can't deal with.
Flowing mellifluously between the two scenarios, the beauty of the whole film is that we never know whether it was Ofelia's dream or reality.
Pan's labyrinth is not for children - but for those adults who need to find their world, that is far away from the unbelievable traffic and chase for wealth.