Pan’s Labyrinth and the Lives of Others
Pan’s Labyrinth is a movie about a young girl Ofelia who loves fairy tales. The movie has both real world and fantasy world situations that take place in an abandoned labyrinth that has strange creatures living in it. The plot of the movie is set at a period in 1944. This is five years after the civil war. It starts with a fairy tale when an underworld Princess Moanna comes to the surface. This has the effect of blinding her because of the sudden sunlight and fading her memory. Eventually Princess Moanna becomes very sick and passes away. Her father the king believes in the return of her spirit.
A young girl Ofelia who is the main character is traveling with her mother Carmen who is pregnant to move in with her new stepfather Captain Vidal who evidently sired Carmen’s unborn child. Captain Vidal is a fascist who kills anti-fascist rebels. Ofelia meets with a strange creature resembling a large insect; she believes it to be a fairy. The fairy like creature takes Ofelia into labyrinth where she meets Mercedes one of her step father’s house cleaner who works as a spy for the rebels. At night while Ofelia is sleeping, the fairy that looks like an insect appears in her bedroom, and takes her to meet their king at the labyrinth. The king believes that Ofelia is her daughter goes ahead to instruct her to perform three tasks in order confirm that she is Princess Moanna. The deadline for the completion of the three tasks is the full moon. She completes all the tasks but she is killed by her stepfather. Her mother Carmen dies while giving birth to a male child. Mercedes’ spying activities are discovered leading to her torture by Vidal. She manages to escape badly injured and runs to the forest where the rebels help her. Vidal is also killed by the rebels. After Ofelia’s death, she becomes Princess Moanna and rules the underworld.
The Lives of Others is a historical movie that takes place in the Great Democratic Republic GDR in 1984 and 1985. The country was ruled by a dictator that used secret police to reign in that nation. The main character is a police officer named Gerd Wiesler. He is tasked by his boss Grubitz to spy on a playwright Georg Dreyman. Dreyman apartment is bugged and Weisler and his colleagues set up equipment on top of Dreyman’s apartment. Soon Wiesler learns the reason why they are spying on Dreyman. A powerful politician Bruno Hempf is in love with Dreyman’s girlfriend Christa-Maria. He is using his power with the Stasi who are police officers to bring Dreyman down as a rebel and take him to prison. Wiesler informs Dreyman of the politician’s intention and he tries to stop Christa from attending the politicians meeting. Dreyman’s friend and colleague commits suicide and leaves him with some unpublished articles. Dreyman decides to publish the anonymous article on concealed suicide rates in East Germany. All typewriters are registered but Dreyman uses a typewriter smuggled from West Germany. Wiesler the police officer is aware of this smuggling but decides not to report. The typed article reaches the Stasi and they notice it was typed using unregistered typewriter with red ink.
The police boss comes to learn that Wiesler obstructed the investigation by hiding the typewriter and he is demoted to become a mail carrier until he retires in 20 years time. Four years later fall of wall of Berlin is announced, Wiesler knows that this is the end of the Stasi. Two years later, after East and West Germany were reunited, Dreyman investigates why he was under surveillance. He discovers about what Wiesler did to assist him by hiding the typewriter. He found out that he was demoted to a mail carrier. Dreyman wrote a book and dedicated it to Wiesler. He purchased the book and when he was asked by the sales clerk if he wants it wrapped he refused and said he was buying the book for himself.
Both movies have characters who are cruel Captain Vidal brutally murders two innocent farmers who were in prison on after being suspected of working with the rebels. He also tortures a captured rebel then continues to murder the medical practitioner who assisted the rebel to die. In the movie known as “The Lives of Others”, Christa-Maria commits suicide after a powerful politician who is in love with her ruins her life. She later dies after being hit by a movie truck after feeling guilty about betraying his boyfriend Dreyman. Both countries are ruled by dictators.
The plot of the movie is placed in nations that were war torn. Both movies have won Academies. They won the 2006 Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film. The movies are from European countries. Both movies are deeply emotionally captivating. Both have extremes actions like in the movie known as “The Lives of Others”, it features people committing suicide while in the movie Pan’s Labyrinth Captain Vidal murders rebels using brutality and torture. In both movies, innocent characters suffer in hand of powerful men. Dreyman is an innocent man who is under surveillance because a powerful politician is in love with his girlfriend. While in Pan’s Labyrinth Ofelia an innocent girl is killed by her stepfather. In both movies, rebels are being sought after. In Pan’s Labyrinth Captain Vidal is killing rebels while in The Lives of Others the powerful politician Hempf frames Dreyman as a rebel so that Stasi put him under surveillance.
The movies revolve around characters that are in the police force. Vidal is a captain while Wiesler is a Stasi Officer, which is equivalent to a police officer. Both movies have characters who feel sympathy for the rebels. In The Lives of Other People Wiesler sympathies with Dreyman and fights for his innocence while in Pan’s Labyrinth Mercedes a spy who works for Vidal sympathies with Ofelia and tries to run away with her but she is caught by Vidal and tortured. Wiesler protects Dreyman while Mercedes protects Ofelia.
In contrast, both movies happen in different countries The Live of Others takes place in Germany while Pan’s Labyrinth takes place in Spain. Both movies take place in different years The Lives of Others takes place in 1984 and 1985 while Pan’s Labyrinth occurs in 1944. They both have different story lines the settings of the movie known as “The Lives of Others”, are in Germany where police spy on an innocent citizen Dreyman while Pan’s Labyrinth is a story line, which has fairy tales.
The other notable difference is that Pan’s Labyrinth is based on a young girl’s character while The Live of Others is based on the life of a police officer. In Pan’s Labyrinth, the movie is fictional with characters that are fairies while in The Lives of Others the story mimics real life experiences. The Lives of Others shows how life was under a socialism rule while Pan’s Labyrinth the life of the main character Ofelia is in a fairy tale filled with insect like characters and monsters. Pan’s Labyrinth has gruesome scenes that feature wounded human beings, people are brutally murdered, and tortured it has monsters that eat children, Ofelia is almost eaten by a monster while performing her second task. It has scary creatures and insects. In the Lives of Others, the movie is not a fantasy and the characters are real life people who live in a socialist society. In The Lives of Others there are no children featured while in Pan’s Labyrinth, the main character is a young girl and a baby Ofelia’s stepbrother.
In conclusion, these two movies are very different from each other from the characters to even the story lines. One movie is a fantasy with fairies mixed with real life characters while the other movie The Lives of Others is a film with real life characters, which focuses on corrupt system during the communist regime of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).