Thursday, January 18, 2007

Magical Realism Death Match

I started this blog with the intention of NOT writing reviews on the films, books and music that I come across - the internet seems to have such things well covered without me. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on the film "Pan's Labyrinth" which I saw today. I'm a big fan of the genre of magical realism, so I'll just placate myself by saying that I'm writing about the genre rather than the film. The film is an Alice-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole story set in post World War II Spain. It's a bit dark, not a children's movie, in fact, I thought it was more violent than "Reservoir Dogs", with it's very own torture scene (sans catchy song). It had absolutely amazing creature effects, including a wicked looking faun that could surely kick Mr Tumnus' arse all the way back to a disappointing filmic version of the Chronicles of Narnia.

Anyway, I loved it, but then I'm into that type of stuff, that is, magical realism. I'm not sure if there is a consensus on what magical realism is. I'd define it, most probably, inadequately, as a story where real and magical elements are interwoven in such a fashion that it is difficult to delineate between them. One of my favourite books of all time is "One Hundred Years of Solitude", which is considered, by many, as the best example of the genre. The book is about a South American town which, through isolation from the rest of the world, is innocent of its technologies, where things like magnets and magic carpets hold the awe of the townspeople and something as simple as ice is truly miraculous. Just thinking about it makes me feel all choked up, like a bit of a pansy. What I love about the genre is the child like perspective it gives on those difficult adult problems, such as politics and discrimination, technology and IP addresses. Anyhow, here are some of my favourite films, which may, in some possible reality, be considered as magical realism: Heavenly Creatures, Big Fish (although the book was way better), Lawn Dogs, The Purple Rose of Cairo (one of the best films of all time).

And now for that death match, judge for yourself:

Mr Tumnus

Versus

Pan's Labyrinth Faun

10 comments:

chandira said...

Yes, Mr Tumnus was an annoying Wuss. OK, I wanted to go see this, now I REALLY want to go see it.. Sounds like the kind of thing I like.

I know, it's OK, I also vowed not to cat-blog, but slip-ups happen once in a while, it's ok..

Owen said...

Yes, I think it's totally up your alley Chandira. It's packed full of all that religious iconography you seem to dig.

cass said...

funnily enough, my sister gave me 100 years of solitude about three years ago, and i'm only just starting to read it right now... and purple rose of cairo is one of my all time favourite films also..
later, c.

Owen said...

Cass, at least you didn't wait 100 years to read it. It's a great book, I hope you agree. I love films about the magic of films, another of my favourites, along those lines, is Cinema Paradiso.

terry said...

100 Years is beautiful and one of my favorites. Try Italo Calvino's If Upon A Winter's Night A Traveller, too. Meg loves Cinema Paridiso and always cries - nay, howls - at it. (but bugger the director's cut)

Owen said...

Terry, I'll have to keep an eye for it. I think it was Meg who put me onto Cinema Paradiso in the first place - it always make me a bit teary at the end as well.

Meg said...

Well, in defense of Narnia remakes, both Laura and I commented on what a spunky fawn that Mr. Tumnus was. Does that make me suck?

Owen said...

I also thought Mr Tumnus was spunky, although, it didn't make the character or the film any less lame. And yes, you do suck...

Anonymous said...

hmmm, mr tumnus.I can't look at him without seeing 'steve' from Shameless.

Do you read any of Gaiman's stuff?

Owen said...

Hello Anonymous, I haven't heard of Shameless. Is it on cable? The internet tells me that Steve is Mr Tumnus.
I haven't read anything by Gaiman. Is he the one who collaborated with Terry Pratchett on Good Omens? I'll keep a look out for him.