Oldenborg to Screen Pan’s Labyrinth

On Saturday, April 20, Pomona College’s Oldenborg Center, in conjunction with the Residence Halls Staff and That Saturday Group, is hosting the premiere of “Starlight Cinema,” an evening outdoor movie screening. The film, Pan’s Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno), begins at 8 p.m. on Marston Quad on Pomona’s campus.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a 2006 Mexican dark fantasy film, written and directed by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, The Devil’s Backbone). It takes place in 1944 Fascist Spain and interweaves cruel postwar reality with a fantasy world centered around an abandoned labyrinth and a mysterious faun creature. Ofelia, a girl fascinated with fairy tales, is sent with her pregnant mother to live with her new stepfather, a ruthless captain in the Spanish army. In the fantasy world, the faun (who is not the Greek god Pan, as the English title would suggest) tells her she is a princess but must also prove her royalty by surviving three gruesome tasks.

Pan’s Labyrinth received widespread critical acclaim, receiving three Academy Awards (for Best Achievement in Art Direction, Cinematography, and Makeup) as well as three British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards and the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. The late critic Roger Ebert gave the film four stars and listed it as one of his “Great Movies.” He called it “one of the greatest of all fantasy films, even though it is anchored so firmly in the reality of war.”

The film was decided upon after a survey went out to Oldenborg residents in late March.

“We asked general questions like, ‘What genre did you want?’ and ‘Did it matter what language it was?’” Director of Oldenborg Rita Bashaw said. “Spanish was a favorite language … and then we had a few e-mails that just said, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pan’s Labyrinth. So we said, ‘Why not?’”

“We’re showing the film in Spanish with [English] subtitles,” Assistant Director of Oldenborg Leanne Thatch said, adding that the subtitles were written by del Toro himself.

The screening is free for students, and popcorn will be provided. Students are encouraged to bring their own blankets, folding chairs, and drinks. Bashaw suggested hot tea, since the evening will probably get chilly.

Bashaw described the event as a “trial run” and hopes to arrange another screening or two for the upcoming fall semester. She proposed the possibility of showing an anime film and having people come dressed as their favorite characters, but ultimately programming will accommodate student input. She encouraged students to write to oldenborg@pomona.edu for comments and suggestions, and she noted that movies screened don’t necessarily have to be in a foreign language, although they should have “some international component.”

“We’re excited to try something new. We want to bring Oldenborg to the people,” Bashaw said.

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