Pan's Labyrinth | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Pan's Labyrinth

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AMexican-Spanish coproduction by the talented Guillermo del Toro (Cronos), this nightmarish fairy tale for grown-ups takes place in Spain just after the civil war, when the Republicans were still counting on help from the Allies that would never come. A little girl in the rural north (Ivana Baquero) whose widowed mother has married a sadistic captain of the Guardia Civil (Sergi Lopez) conjures up a faun (Doug Jones). Unlike most horror movies, this chiller gives equal prominence to reality and fantasy, though the reality is far more frightening. The only precedent that comes to mind in terms of a lyrical treatment of a child's experience of terror is The Night of the Hunter. In Spanish with subtitles. R, 120 min. a Century 12 and CineArts 6, Landmark's Century Centre, River East 21.

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