Del Toro’s Pans Labyrinth

573 Words3 Pages
Discuss del Toro’s use of symbolism, imagery and myths in Pan’s Labyrinth and how they contribute to your understanding of the film. Del Toro exposes both the fantastical and the political through the experiences of little Ofelia. I found this a wonder to watch, as it is visually stunning in its intricacy and Latino-Gothic style, yet informative and thought provoking in its brutally realistic look at the events of the Spanish Civil War. Del Toro has created his own Brother’s Grimm fairytale, with a twist; I like to describe it as a Gothic ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – ‘Ofelia in the Labyrinth’. Her ‘white rabbit’ is a less-glamorous stick-insect, her ‘Queen of Hearts’ is a monstrous toad which has a key in its stomach instead of jam tarts and her ‘Mad Hatter’ is the Satyrn-like ‘pale man’ who doesn’t like tea, but children… Although the film is shown from a child’s perspective, this is not a fairytale for children. Del Toro has brought the ‘grim’ back to the Disney-fied fairytales. The film revolves around a female protagonist, but unlike the females in traditional fairytales, this young girl is not only independent and completes her given tasks, but also is unfazed by the monstrous creatures she encounters. Her imagination, much like del Toro’s, is powerful – powerful enough to distract her from the unsparing reality. The young girl is however naïve, she does not understand the politics of the reality she is in, something a more adult audience does understand and then therefore sympathises with the girl caught up in it – especially mothers. While Ofelia is the prominent character in the ‘Underworld’ narrative, it seems Mercedes – another strong female – is the protagonist of the reality-side. She impacts the narrative with her infiltration of Vidal’s camp (seemingly innocently as a maid), through which the Rebels can then take victory. However, her maternal
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