Wednesday, July 25, 2012

2006 and the Labyrinth

2006 blogging, part 4 of 5
Pan’s Labyrinth

In these long breaks between the signature 21 Essays series, I’m experimenting with a new feature focused on possibilities for future series.  I’ll spin the roulette wheel to pick a year (or set of years) and then brainstorm on some potential essay topics.  This time the wheel spins, gradually slows, then clicks to a stop, pointing at:  2006. 

So here’s my fourth 2006 series possibility:  21 essays on Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro’s nightmarish fantasy rooted in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War.

As my friends know, I can never resist the intersection of fantasy and history.  With Pan’s Labyrinth, the history is solid.  And the fantasy is extraordinary.

There’s no way I would try to cover the whole of Pan’s Labyrinth in 21 essays.  Twice that, maybe.  Probably I’d need more like 84 essays to begin to do it justice.  So for 21 essays, I’d have to restrict myself to some very tight parameters.

Much as I enjoy history, I don’t think I’d want to spend 21 days contemplating this depressing and horrifying depiction of Spain in the 1940s.  And much as I love the mythological elements, they’re so dense and varied that covering them all could get overwhelming.

So I think I’d like to put a huge SPOILER sign up over the whole series and spend all 21 essays closely examining and contemplating Pan’s Labyrinth’s highly ambiguous final scenes.  There are at least three plausible explanations for what we see, and I think each of them could yield worthwhile discussion.

Ivana Baquero as Ofelia in Pan's Labyrinth.

Tomorrow, I’ll be proposing the last of these 2006 ideas (with no promises that I’ll necessarily be getting to any of them…).  But I’m wide open to other suggestions.  Any ideas for 2006 movies, books, short stories, poems, songs, paintings, or other cultural artifacts that might inspire a good 21 Essays series?

© 2012 Lee Price

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