Pan's Labyrinth

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Pan’s Labyrinth: A Depiction of Post-Civil War Spain
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The film “Pan’s Labyrinth” is a cinematic masterpiece of 2006, directed and written by Guillermo del Toro. Although the film is considered partly within the fantasy genre, several of the themes within the film reflect certain historical realities of post-civil war Spain. Themes of reality versus fantasy, gender roles, and children and war are developed within the film.

Pan’s Labyrinth takes place during the Francoist period of 1944 and follows the young main character, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), through the many changes that she experiences following the death of her father in the war. The story is told from the point of view of a child (representing innocence); the state of the child’s future is dependent upon the adults before her, and she must bear the consequences of their choices.

Ofelia is a young girl who is fascinated with fairy tales, and is constantly reading. The film begins by describing the tale of Princess Moanna, one of the fairy tale books that Ofelia is reading. The story explains that the princess’s father is the king of the underworld, and she eventually becomes curious about the world above. Thus, she decides to leave her underworld home. However, when she leaves the world below, she dies. The story of Princess Moanna was known as a popular myth; it was believed that her spirit would someday come back to the earth in human form and she would return to her father in the underworld.

After describing the tale of Princess Moanna, the film abruptly flashes back to Ofelia’s reality. Ofelia is traveling with her pregnant mother, Carmen (Ariadna Gil), who is bringing Ofelia to live in the home of her new stepfather (Vidal) who is the father of Carmen’s unborn child. *

Vidal is the captain of the Spanish army and wants his son to be born into a “new and clean Spain”; he is a fascist leader who tortures and brutally kills rebels. Vidal’s authoritarian leadership style in war...
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