Lately it seems the only things I post are reviews. Actually it gives you a fair idea of what I'm spending my time doing - lots of reading, lots of watching, lots of listening. This all - all but the reading - happens while I knit.
Showing the knitting will have to wait - the light is so bad here in January that you'd not be too impressed with what I'm making if I took a picture of it during these dark days. In the meantime, let me tell you about Pan's Labyrinth.
I hated it.
I mean, I hated it. It freaked me out so deeply, I don't know what to do about it. I am not sure whether I can watch it again...because my BluRay player hasn't got a viewing option labelled "Never Show Me This Scene Again". The fairytale part was not the problem. The problem was the aforementioned wicked stepfather, who is a sadistic abomination straight from the pits of hell.
I can handle implied violence - an axe descending towards a shrinking captive, then the scene cuts away and you don't see the moment of contact - but I can't handle the kind of relentless, inhuman brutality in this movie. It all gets screentime. Less than a half hour in, I had my eyes tightly shut and my hands over my ears because I hadn't got to the scan-forward button fast enough to prevent my seeing and hearing a man being bludgeoned to death with a wine bottle, directly on his face.
I had to stop it and go do something else for an hour, during which time I debated whether I would even finish the thing.
I did finish it, but made damn sure I had both hands on the remote - left thumb on "mute" and right thumb on "skip". Also, during my intermission I had checked online reviews to see exactly what other scenes I had to watch out for - a good thing, as it allowed me to scan past the "man who gets tortured with hammer in face" and the "Pale Man monster with eyeballs in his hands, who eats babies" and the "man whose leg is amputated with a handsaw".
Obviously I'm still sorting out my feelings on Pan's Labyrinth. I really do not know which one I mean more: "I loved it" or "I hated it". As far as its intention goes, it's a smashing success. It's truly a fairytale, with all the archetypes which that genre contains. (And for an excellent discussion on that, see this post.)
Modern childrearing shuns the old tales, deeming them too violent for children - and in fact if we saw the fairytales we knew as a child "in living colour", as it were, we'd be horrified: imagine being a fly on the cottage wall while the wolf is eating Granny. Yerch.
But when Little Red and the Woodcutter arrive to save the day, Granny is exhumed from the wolf's belly not as mince, but in one piece - nightcap firmly in place. It's the bizarre appeal of folk tales - the cheerful lacquer we have painted over the dripping gore, hopefully leaving the moral of the stories intact, for the next generation of children to learn from and thrill over.
So I've decided what to do. I'm going to go brush my teeth (had to have cocoa to comfort myself after finishing El Labyrinto del Fauno) and while I'm doing that, I'm going to lacquer over the evil stepfather, firmly closing the shutters before the bottle comes out. I'm going to paint a rosette of fresh crocus on the princess' nightgown, and pretend it protects her from harm. I'm going to wash all the blood off and tell myself that the girl was not afraid, that the faithful maidservant arrived in time, that the doctor wasn't dead after all.
Because I have to go to bed now, and I've just heard a scary story.
I think I loved it.