Monday, August 24, 2009

Film Review/Theology: Pan's Labyrinth and the Cross of Christ

Today, I called to let my mom know that my passport had arrived in the mail. I'd forgotten it, and she had shipped it up to me using overnight express. That was a huge weight off my chest, but that's not really what this post is about. This post is about a movie.

When I called, my mother told me that my sister and her husband had watched Pan's Labyrinth and, understandably hated it. As they saw it, it was a film about a bad man doing bad things, and what was to like about that? Also understandably, my mother was concerned that I would like something with that  content. So here's my apologetic for the movie. (slight spoilers ahead)

As I see it, Pan's Labyrinth is not about evil, but instead about the power of love and myth in the face of evil. The story is set in fascist Spain, and the man of power in the story is a horrible, sick and twisted man. It seems he has all the power, but a little girl defies him through her love for her mother and her fable (which may or may not be real)  and in the end he looses everything. The little weak girl topples the wicked giant, though not without terrible sacrifice.

This is not unlike life as I, a Christian, see it. The world in which we live is ugly and brutish, and evil appears to have strength, but as we become like children and cast off all power to become filled with love and gentleness, becoming the image of Christ, we begin to conquer this demonic kingdom, not by the force of greater more brutish power, but by the redemptive love and mercy of God. Indeed, this is how Christ bound up Satan, not with great armies or mighty displays of destructive power, but, first, through becoming the least of men; second, through acts of love, restoration and healing; and finally, through humility unto death, "even death on a cross".

That's is why I like Pan's Labyrinth.