Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark, Spanish fantasy film that was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro. The narrative unfolds on multiple levels. First is a fantasy level. Second is “real world”? level. Third is the story of the movie. Fourth is the Spanish Civil War. All level reflects similar themes: Fantasy, reality, fascism, democracy, human brutality, human innocence, lyrical heroism, secular heroics. Guillermo del Toro was born in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. While being raised by his grandmother, del Toro during his teen years started to develop a liking in filmmaking.
He later learned about makeup and effects from the “Godfather of makeup,” Dick Smith, who is most famous for his work in The Godfather and The Exorcist. Guillermo worked on a few short films and at the age of 21, in 1973, executive produced his first feature, Dona Herlinda and Her Son (IMDB). Other films that Toro is known for are Blade 2 and The Hellboy Series. Del Toro writes using a Mexican literary tradition called “Magical Realism?. ” Magical realism is a genre where magical elements are a natural part of an otherwise ordinary human environment.
The film takes place in Spain five years after the Spanish Civil War. The main character, a young girl named Ofelia, moves from the city into a military occupied mill due to her mother marrying the Fascist Captain, Vidal, who believes strongly in fascism and was assigned to conquer anti-Franco rebels. Carmen enters into the marriage because her husband was a victim of the Spanish Civil War. Carmen is pregnant with Vidal’s son. Vidal sees Carmen only as a vehicle for his male legacy.
She is unaware of his callous intentions. On the way to the mill, Ofelia’s mother began to fill ill and tells the driver to stop the car to get some fresh air. Ofelia finds a stone the ground that has an eye on it and her curiosity causes her to wander off the road where she finds a statue missing an eye. When she matches the stone the statue, out pops a large stick bug. This bug who she believes to be fairy later leads Ofelia into an ancient labyrinth but she is stopped by Vidal House keeper, Mercedes.
That night, the “fairy ? appears in Ofelia’s bedroom, where it reveals itself as a fairy and leads her through the labyrinth. There, she meets the faun, who believes her to be Princess Moanna, a princess of the underworld who escaped into our world and became human. He says that Moanna died and was reincarnated as Ofelia. He gives her three tasks to complete before the full moon to prove herself worthy of her rightful return. Each task leads to another. First she has to feed a giant toad 3 stones which leads to her receiving a key.
Then she has to take that key to a secret underworld dimension where she uses it to unlock a box that has a dagger, but she must not eat any food there (fails the task because she ate the fruit). Then she must use that dagger in the third task to spill the blood of an innocent being her newly born little brother who she kidnapped from the mill so that she can return to her world. When she is presented with the task of harming her little brother she refuses, causing Vidal who furious about his son to find her and kill her. You later see that Ofelia wake up in a hrone room being welcomed back to “her home ?. It is revealed that she was supposed to choose to not hurt her little brother and her own blood be spilled. A long the path of her “heroes journey ?, Ofelia succumbs to human temptation. She almost subverts her return when she eats forbidden fruit. Like Eve in Eden, Ofelia loses her innocence and adds her personal redemption to her list of tasks. I believe that when she disobeyed the faun and ate the fruit she gave into temptation and lost her innocence. But when she chose her baby brother over her desire to return to the underworld she gained it back.
The faun said task was that innocent must be spilled to open the portal but, I think the task was HER innocent blood must be spilled to open the portal. In conclusion Ofelia’s story covers few topics in our class. It covers Magical Realism by adding magical creatures and places that influence the “real world ? problems of the story. It also covers border in the literal term of Ofelia crossing the border between one world and the next, but also emotional borders or barriers, like the loss of her mother, her only real connection to this world pushing her to want to leave this world even more.