Pan´S Labyrinth & the Spanish Civil War

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Pan’s Labyrinth is an extraordinary film boasting a touching performance from Ivana Baquero, playing Ofelia, an innocent young girl introduced against her will to the evils of the Spanish Civil War. In 1944, a few years after the Spanish royalists lost the Civil War to Franco’s fascists, a widow marries a Spanish army captain (Sergi Lopez). He commands a remote northern Spanish garrison where he’s assigned to root out remnants of royalist resistance. The marriage is clearly one of convenience for her, as the love of her life was her first husband, a tailor, who was killed during the fighting. She brings with her a teenage daughter just beginning to enter the realms of sexual, intellectual and moral discovery that come with adolescence. For the captain, the marriage has one purpose alone: to provide a male heir. He is a brutal, true-believer fascist who brooks no opposition from royalists, family or his own household staff. In fact, the least sign of resistance brings to bear fearful levels of violence. In this character, the director has created a perfect foil for the tender girl who will be his nemesis. A main theme of the film is the fantasy scenes as symbolic commentary on the Civil War. Captain Vidal seems the embodiment of Franco. Ofelia seems the embodiment of the Spanish nation, and more specifically the martyrs who fought and died for the Republican cause, enduring long suffering at the hands of Franco. And Ofelia’s brother, with whom Carmen is pregnant, is reminiscent of King Juan Carlos, the current Spanish monarch who endured decades as a seeming enabler and supporter of Franco only to emerge after his death as a full-fledged democrat and saviour of the nation. In the film, Carmen endures a harrowing pregnancy and eventually dies during childbirth. Her son survives at least partly due to the fairy aid that Ofelia provides from night-time forays into

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