Pan’s Labyrinth – Mise En Scene
Guillermo del Toro contrasts two worlds with mise-en-scene, the romantic world compared to the realistic world. He accomplishes this with a distinguished use of lighting as well as objects, changing the styles based of which world he aims to portray. He paints reality has unforgiving and harsh while the romantic world receives a more fantastic, lighthearted tint. He also uses German Expressionistic qualities of mirroring internal landscapes of the characters with the external settings.
Sharpness plays a major part in Pan’s Labyrinth, from the architecture to the props. With the props, Del Toro places emphasis on keys and knives. Keys posses an obvious denotation of being able to unlock things that previously stayed out of reach. In the film, they are used as a means of breaking into the military camp, a literal example of unlocking. However, they also hold the connotation of being able to unlock deeper, more meaningful things, such as emotion. Knives also carry symbolic weight within the context of the movie. While keys act similarly, knives even more so act as phallic symbols. They entail power. This can be clearly seen with Ofeila, whom as a woman, lacks phallic quality on her own and therefore the viewers find her more helpless, but with the knife she holds some level of power. She can protect herself.
Again sharpness comes into play with the architectural qualities of the setting and helps to create two different worlds. The realistic side of the world in the film is portrayed as harsh and unforgiving with the lack of smooth edges or surfaces. Throughout the film, Del Toro invokes German Expressionism in the use of landscapes, which mirror internal emotions. The harsh nature of realism shows itself in the hard edges and sharp lines when Del Toro depicts scenes with the Captain. Ofeila’s scenes demonstrate romanticism. They exhibit smooth, curving sets, which give a looser feel to the scenes. The viewers...
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