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Pan’s Labyrinth, Directed Guillermo del Toro

El laberinto del fauno, Warner Bros., October 11, 2006 (Spain)

Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro

Starring: Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones, Sergi López, and Maribel Verdú

(Ariadna Gil): You’re getting older, and you’ll see that life isn’t like your fairy tales. The world is a cruel place. And you’ll learn that, even if it hurts.

They met in a passageway between reason and time. Rose bushes flanked the trail, brilliant and bright, red as all evil. Only a closer look revealed the thing about the thorns—that they were knives sprouting out from and ripping apart the long thin green necks that held up blood-smeared faces adorning the mystical garden path.

He was a larger than life figure in all regards except for, oddly enough, his appearance itself, which was strikingly slight. Springing from the ends of his wiry arms and legs were long crooked bones that exposed incalculable mileage. The ancient fingers and toes seemed to stretch three or four times than that of human equivalents. It made the boy so suddenly unsure of himself and his surroundings that he glanced down awkwardly at his own fingers for a better frame of reference. As expected, they looked grossly inadequate in comparison, although the nature and extent of this inadequacy had yet to be revealed.

It was a night of dichotomies, an enchanting evening that was palpably threatening. Without warning, somewhere off in the distance, an army of storms were at this moment knocking thunderously on the locked doors and shut windows of slumbering neighbors as lightening blazed electric over the neon horizon.

As the unusual confrontation and subsequent conversation began, the old man with the odd hands and feet began to speak as if he had waited to meet the boy for some thousands of years. And as it goes, in fact he did. He had waited for this moment in deliberate and hopeful preparation, leaving nothing to chance but the unavoidable dance of chance itself.

By the light of the moon that surrounds you, you are hereby summoned to perform these three tasks that I have traveled millions of miles to beseech upon you. Let them be not only a challenge, but most of all, a sufficiently cherished gift. For it is the following that I know to be true. I have been to the future and back with enough frequency to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that in all of your existence you will not receive a greater gift than this.

The boy was locked in an opposing abyss of fear and excitement. He waited with pronounced anticipation for the terms of the tasks to be revealed. But it was the delicious details of the reward that came first, immediately solidifying the sale and ending any and all question as to whether the boy would accept his date with destiny.

Good health and the prosperity of your family and their children’s children shall be granted from the next strike of thunder to the ends of all unknowable eternity.

The boy’s eyes grew as wide and bright as the harvest moon. He was only thirteen (forty), but he knew with certainty that this chance encounter was his lifetime’s now-or-never moment. Oh, how now or never proved to be a glorious and frightening precipice to have suddenly stumbled upon! He could secure immunity from all of the wicked evils and ugly cancerous stains that ravaged the people of the woods. His people. He thought of his baby brother, born to a helpless and invisible fate just this morn. To grow old with the surest of bones and strongest of hearts, and the assurance that his eternal lineage would be draped in blankets of prosperity. Family graveyards would be blessed deep and wide in green fields of contented nostalgia. Oh, to hear the happy tales passed on through the impenetrable generations! Certainly and without a doubt, the old young man of forty (thirteen) was ready to accept his mission and his destiny.

And then, it happened. Thunder exploded over the immovable moment, and the three tasks were revealed, one by one, along with a set of rules that, if broken, would immediately dissolve all prior conditions and carry with their tattered remains a trail of fate so helplessly unprotected that misery and pain would appear at every turn, hunting the cursed genes of his offspring and all those that made up the disease-ravaged limbs of his family tree.

He took a measured breath.

The three tasks were this. . . .