Monday, January 08, 2007

The Daily Hump: Labyrinth

I saw a great movie yesterday, Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth*. In addition to just being an excellent story it had beautiful haunting and disturbing imagery, especially during the fantasy arc. Think Labyrinth meets City of Lost Children meets Schindler's List. The Bosch/Goyaesque Pale Man character in particular is the stuff of nightmares and for creep-factor alone he makes the film worth seeing. If you go also take notice of the mandrake root, which I humped back in August.

Anyway, in honor of the movie I've decided to hump labyrinth. The word harkens back to the Greek (laburinthos) myth of the minotaur, the half man/half bull who roamed the Minoan maze eating young Athenian sacrifices. The etymological trail goes a bit cold once we look beyond Greek; it is thought labyrinth may be related to the Lydian labrys meaning "double-edged axe." In the Minoan culture this was a symbol of royal power and as the Online Etymology Dictionary notes this "fits with the theory that the labyrinth was originally the royal Minoan palace on Crete and meant 'palace of the double-axe'."

As an FYI labyrinth and maze should not be used interchangeably:
...a maze is a tour puzzle in the form of a complex branching passage, with choices of path and direction, while a single-path ("unicursal") labyrinth has only a single, Eulerian path to the centre. A labyrinth has an unambiguous through-route to the centre and back and is not designed to be difficult to navigate.
labyrinth [Wikipedia]

*The original non-English title is El Laberinto del Fauno. I was curious why "Faun" became "Pan" in the English release. According to a poster on the DelToroFilms.com forum the change was purely for marketing purposes--Pan's Labyrinth simply sounded nicer. My thought was that ignorant American audiences wouldn't know what a faun was (not that they'd necessarily know who Pan was either).

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:: posted by David, 8:46 AM

1 Comments:

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Blogger Loocite, at 2:34 PM  

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