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Dear Pan’s Labyrinth,

Few words can describe how I feel about you as a film. If I must, then I shall begin by saying how much you amaze me. You are film that is just as fantastical as you are real, and for that reason I can only lose myself in your dark forests and mesmerizing labyrinth. You pique my interest so easily because you are a dark fairy tale. You go beyond the assumptions anyone would have about fairy tales because you do not present the classic “everyone lived happily ever after” ending.

There are so many things that stand out about you, but I should talk about the world you present first. When I really I love a film, I often feel a connection to its protagonist. Then I have a fascination with the story, visuals, music, and all the other elements that make such cinematic masterpieces. Every once in awhile, I will see a film that makes me curious; curious about what my life would be like if I was living in the real world of that film; to be stuck in Spain under fascist rule. I don’t know how I survive in such world, but you offer that bit of fantasy with such realism that I almost feel frightened by your characters. I feel frightened yet intrigued because I almost forget that I’m watching you on screen.

In theater productions, they say that the audience is the fourth wall of the production. The audience is part of performance. In the same fashion, you draw me into your world because you don’t set any boundaries. The labyrinth is only the beginning of your persuasion. An innocent girl caught between two worlds. I may not be as innocent, but I also find myself between the pressures and stress of the real world and an ideal world.

What also worked like a charm for you was having a cruel villain. While you may feel a connection to the heroes of films, evil villains can lure you into their sadistic minds. Your villain may not have been the most evil of all villains, but he did not lack the cold-heartedness that you cannot help but cringe at. In many ways I relate to villains because they will do whatever it takes to get what they want. So as you watch a film, your feelings for that villain may go from anger to admiration. Great films always have unforgettable villains because they add the drama and fear that keep you wondering what will happen.

As I began to see your end credits roll, once again I was reminded of how great films are not always those with an original idea, but they have an original way of telling you a timeless story. It is with pleasure that I should classify you as the epitome of fantasy films because you combine the enchantment and magic of the fictitious world with the love and sacrifice of the real world.

Completely infatuated,

Raul Marin

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