Pan’s Labyrinth: A Visual Analysis
Pan’s Labyrinth, originally titled El laberinto del fauno, was published in 2006 by the Spanish director Guillermo del Toro. The story is set in the year 1944, in the country-side of a post-Civil War Spain. A young and imaginative girl named Ofelia, played by Ivana Baquero, travels with her pregnant mother, Carmen Vidal, who is very ill; in order to meet and live with her stepfather, a cruel and sadistic man named Capitan Vidal (Sergi Lopez). During the first night of their stay, Ofelia meets a fairy that leads her to a pit in the center of a labyrinth where they soon meet a faun (Doug Jones). The faun tells Ofelia that she is a princess from a faerie kingdom underground, where her father, the king, waits for her arrival. However, she must accomplish three gruesome and dangerous tasks in order to prove her immortality. During her stay, she befriends a servant, Mercedes, who is sister to one of the rebels and is secretly giving support to the group. In order to escape the realities of her dark and violent world, Ofelia lives in her magical world trying to carry out the three tasks that will reunite her with her father and their kingdom. The film is of many opposites: good versus evil, reality versus fiction, innocence versus adulthood, over-world versus underworld. Thus, the director’s overlying theme is anything but subtle. He directed this film as to make a statement about the lengths that children will go to in order to protect themselves and the ones they love in times of extreme hardship. He also goes to show that the central theme in Pan’s Labyrinth is the essential role that imagination plays in the lives of children, especially in times of great distress. Even the ending of the film can be interpreted in two opposite ways: either Ofelia had created an enchanted world in her head to escape the harsh realities of real life or she simply was an awakened being who saw what those...
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