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260. El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) (#146)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, with special guest Jack Packard, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, Guillermo Del Toro’s El laberinto del fauno.

In the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, a young girl named Ofelia moves to her new stepfather’s house. As Captain Vidal ruthlessly hunts down the remaining rebels, Ofelia discovers that there is something enchanted lurking in the nearby woods. A mysterious faun promises to secret Ofelia away to a magical realm, if she can complete three tasks. As Ofelia finds herself caught between fantasy and reality, she discovers the sometimes the worst monsters are the human kind.

At time of recording, it was ranked 146th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water is a beautiful emerald fairy tale, told from the fringes.

Set in the early sixties, against the backdrop of “the last days of a fair prince’s reign”, The Shape of Water promises to regale audience members with the story of “the princess without a voice” and “the monster who tried to end it all.” However the most striking aspect of The Shape of Water is in how it chooses to focus its magical story. The Shape of Water is a story largely about those who are silenced on the margins, right down to its decision to cast Sally Hawkins as protagonist Elisa Esposito, a mute cleaner working in a secret government lab.

He’s in a glass case of emotion.

The Shape of Water is very much an exploration of the concept of “the other”, of the lives of those who exist outside the confines of “normal” society. The film’s central antagonist is a happily married white American man, who finds himself set against a collection of misfits and outcasts; a mute orphan, a black cleaning lady, a gay designer, an immigrant scientist, and a monstrosity pulled from the depths of the Amazon river. Coasting from the conservative fifties, Colonel Richard Strickland faces the threat that everything he accepts as granted might be washed away.

The Shape of Water suffers from some minor pacing problems in its romantic adventure, but these are minor issues in a haunting and enchanting piece of work.

The Creature from the Black Ops Department.

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