In Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, nature has the power of determining the course of the movie’s storyline by actively participating in the action. During the scene where Captain Vidal’s forces encounter the rebels in the forest, there is a face off which results in a big blood bath for the Spanish Maquis. The irony in this situation rises from the rebels believing that the forest where they hide will be a secure place to hide from Vidal’s men. It is no coincidence that the encounter takes place in a forest; the rebels believed that they were safe as long as they did not get too close to Vidal’s house. They trusted the protection that the forest would offer, yet they were wrong in their assumption as the encounter does not turn out favorably for the rebels. Throughout that fragment of the film, we can see how Vidal’s forces are more efficient in using the field of battle to their advantage; using trees and rocks as cover. On the other hand, nature works against the rebels by acting as an environmental character that finds ways to limit the mobility and impede their retreat. It is in such ways that nature disfavors the Spanish Maquis and collaborates with the purposes of Vidal’s men. Nature is an active participant that, in Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth”, embodies danger and peril through lulling characters into a false sense of security by drawing a paradoxical contrast in its appearance and significance. The misfortunes that take place in natural spaces draw a paradox in the esthetic aspect of nature by contrasting the events with the familiar associations of light and dark. The scene of Vidal’s men fighting the Maquis starts as one of the brightest, most illuminated scenes of the film. The sun contributes to add a glow that makes the environment seem so vibrant and so alive; flowers, bright yellow lighting and green trees add to this effect. Through the contrast that is drawn as a result...
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