Wednesday, 24 March 2010

My research on Pan's Labyrinth

This is what I got so far on the comparison between the civil war and the film as well what the quest represent in the film as well to Ofelia.

The time setting of Pan’s Labyrinth takes place after the Civil War in 1944. The Civil War in Spain started in 1936 and finished in 1939. The war was between the Fascist and the Republic. It was a chance for the workers (Republic) of Spain to rise against the Fascist, who ruled Spain through their stature. The war for the Republic was to gain freedom and equality in Spain. However the Republic battle for equality was a disastrous one because they didn’t have enough resources to help them win the fight against the Fascist. Even though the Republic had some outside help they still couldn’t defeat the Fascist.
( [Acessed 24/03/2010])

Figure 1: Civil War picture, [accessed 24/03/2010]

A lot of the events in the film represent more or less of how the Civil War has turned out. With the main character Ofelia as the republics, wanting to be free and independent. And the villain, and Ofeila’s step-farther, Captain Vidal as the fascists, having the Military showing it’s control over the public by using fear and power. Ofelia trying to be more herself, but Vidal is forcing her to be more realistic, and want her to obey him with out question. Just like how he is doing with the public.

The fantasy side of Pan’s Labyrinth can also be connected to the events that happened in the film through the quests that Ofelia has to complete, most noticeably the Pale Man Banquet quest (Figure 2) and Captain Vidal’s Dinning room (Figure 4).

Figure 2 (left): Pale Man’s Banquet, Pan’s Labyrinth, (2006) Directed by Guillermo del Toro. [DVD] Spain: Telecinco
Figure 3 (right): A Feast at Captain Vidal’s dinning room, Pan’s Labyrinth, (2006) Directed by Guillermo del Toro. [DVD] Spain: Telecinco

For Pale Man’s Banquet, there’s a lot of food on the table waiting to be eaten by anyone. However by eating his food you will be eaten by the Pale Man himself. This could be reflected on an event in the film when Captain Vidal was holding a feast with some of Spain’s important people, and by accepting his food they have succumb to his ideals. The banquet and the feast are like an invitation from the host to the guests, but by eating their food you accept their terms. For the Pale man your life, for the Vidal your loyalty.

The film also shows the tough challenges and choices the main character, Ofelia, has to make to get away from her step-farther. A prime example of this is her last quest (Figure 4), which is to open a portal for her to get away from her step-farther Captain Vidal, but the Faun told her that to open the portal it needs the blood of an innocent, her brother. Ofelia declines this offer but the Faun tries to tempt her by bring up her freedom, that she will lose if she doesn’t accept the price to open the portal, but still she declines. Ofelia wants her freedom from the Vidal more than anyone but not of the price of her borther’s safety no matter how tempting the offer is. This moment in the film shows how thoughtful Ofelia is to others, unlike her step-farther.

Figure 4: The last quest, Pan’s Labyrinth, (2006) Directed by Guillermo del Toro. [DVD] Spain: Telecinco

If you need any more information, tell me what we need tomorrow when we meet up at 9:30 or so

Matt and Shahbir

Can you post up the stuff you did today so I can stick it in the presentation? If you can't put it on the blog can you email it to me:


Left to do

We got quite a bit done today, the slides we need to do are:

- Pre-Raphalite Brotherhood in Symbolism
- Celtic Signs (I'll have a look, but like you said, theres not much )
^^^ Lets not bother with these two, no-one will know what we're going on about anyway
- Jorge Luis Borges
- Wizard of Oz - Done
- CS Lewis - Narnia Done
- Conclusion

After all this is done, it works out to be 25 slides, which sounds about right. Im going to add some stuff on CS Lewis and Wizard of OZ in a minute, so they should be done. Ethan, you said you were doing Borges which is cool. We won't have much more to do, just the intro and conclusion, which we can botch together.

Jorge Luis Borges...

I'm part way through writing about JorgeLuis Borges and i'll be able to finish that whe i get back from the gym. I have tried to look into celtic art but i can't seem to find much good information as such and wikipedia is down at the moment to look for some referneces, so maybe we could leave that section out? Can you decide what you want to do, Sam, and tell me what i need to do...

New notes about it being linked to freud

finding this up on the internet

A little girl's fantasy takes stage in the mountains of fascist Spain at a military camp fighting against the rebels. Ofelia, a child with a wild imagination, travels with her weak, pregnant mother to meet her new
stepfather, a merciless captain of the Spanish army. Upon her arrival, she discovers a labyrinth, is later led by a fairy to middle of it, and meets a faun that tells her that she is a princess from another world. He promises her that she can go there and be reunited with her father as long as she completes three tasks for him. In her attempts to complete these tasks, Ofelia is forced to deal with the reality of mortality and learn the difference between right and wrong even if that means self-sacrifice.

Concept #1: The id, the superego, and ego

Freud made a footprint in psychological history when dividing the mind into three sections that exhibit forces upon each other to maintain regularity. Those three elements are the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is the part of the mind that aims to please itself through instant gratification, while the ego subdues it (the id is animal instinct and the ego is the being reacting to societal constraints). Most consider the ego, the self. The superego is the law, rewarding good behavior and punishing poor behavior.

The scene that best displays Freud's theory of the mind is during Ofelia's attempt to complete the second task given to her by the faun. Under the faun's instruction, Ofelia must retrieve a dagger from within a
tomb-like chamber without eating food on the table. Ofelia retrieves the dagger without taking a second look at the food, but on the way back the grapes entrance her. At the head of the table is a creature without eyeballs and large folds of skin indicating a very gluttonous person prior to his demise. Upon eating the grapes, the creature is awaken and attempts to eat Ofelia, but she is able to escape. The creature represents the awakening of the id within Ofelia by succumbing to the impulse to eat the grapes. Ofelia realizes what she has done and the self (ego) stops eating and runs from the id to escape it eating her and ultimately overtaking her judgment. The superego surfaces and is immediately noticed through the expression on her face.

Concept #2: Breaking the Social Role Theory

The social role theory is the idea that men and women behave differently in social settings because of the pressures that society places on the representation of gender. Although the film exudes the concept of social role theory through a male-dominated camp with women working the kitchen, one scene shatters the differences between men and women. Discovered as a spy for the rebels, Mercedes is captured by Captain Vidal and taken to a barn to be tortured until she gives him information. He makes a statement to another soldier that he never expected this form Mercedes because she is a woman. Here she says that the only reason she got away with treason was because she is a woman, which demonstrates that Vidal's eyes were blind to Mercedes actions because of his expectations of women to be weak and dumb. Even further, she is able to escape the ties that he used on her and is triumphant in wounding Vidal with a knife and at the end of the movie; he falls dead at her feet. The role apparently change in the movie from beginning to end, starting with Mercedes being his servant to her being is Grim Reaper.

Cultural Similarity: Children Use Fantasy to Cope

Pan's Labyrinth offers incite to the cultural similarities between the United States (U.S.) and Mexico; the most powerful similarity is children using fairy tales to cope with the pressures of an adult world. In the

U.S., children are expected to deal with hard feelings such as loneliness and regret and get through experiences like divorce and financial instability just as adults do. A coping mechanism common in children in many cultures seems to be the use of imagination to develop fantasies that solve and deal with events that are all too big for them. For example, Ofelia uses a mandrake root to save her mother from a fatal pregnancy (even though it does not help, it make Ofelia feel as though she is doing something to save her mother). In fact, Ofelia develops an entire story, which drives the plot of the movie - these tasks are created in order to cope with the death of her father, her ailing mother, and villainous stepfather.
Pan's Labyrinth offers an insight into child development, gender roles and expectations, and the impulses that come from inside our minds. In summary, the movie helps adults see the flaws that everybody has and how to overcome some of society's largest obstacles.

Published August 18, 2008 by:
Summer Stewart

Pan's Labyrinth: A Psychological Analysis

pans labyrinth film youtube interview

this is a cool film interview by the guy himself

at the end he talks about the movie being around that movie is kinda about the girl being reborn, into a women

time signature 5.58

the interview questions Guillermo Del Toro about how the poster looks reproductive and the Guillermo replies by linking the link it being very about reproductive about the girl being all about reborn

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Research from web articles...

- In Classical mythology, traditional depictions of an underworld were emphatically masculine and adult space: Hades was the land of the dead, named for the Greek god who ruled over it. To journey there was a descent into hell and thus the central and climatic destination for questing heros from epic poetry. In contrast, Alice's Wonderland is emphatically matriarchal, feminized (with tea parties, croquet and poetry) and anthropomorphically lively. From the outset. Pan's Labyrinth also usurps the traditional male space of the Underworld, displaces it, and designates it a female realm: the questing hero is the runaway princess Ofelia.
- The Captain parodies the White Rabbit of Wnderland with his beloved pocket watch and his desire for order, precision and unfailing obedience.
- The visual impact of the fantasy world is Freudian in its gendering from the downward wipe through the mother's swollen belly into the fairytale landscape, the imagery is continually oragic and uterine, with warm rich colours, earthy cavernous spaces and the recurring curved feminine shapes reminiscent of the Faun's horns. This place is more a place of life and rebirth than a land of the dead.
- There's something of the myth of Tantalus in Ofelia's tale, as much as there is of Lewis Carroll's Alice and the sagas of parental absence by the Brothers Grimm, which surface in the premise of a young girl travelling, as the film opens, with her pregnant mother into the war-torn Spanish countryside during Franco's rule to join her wicked stepfather at his remote outpost.
- Likewise the director'd interest in the underground and the fecundity of it as a signifier of both potential and the repressed. (FREUDIAN CONNECTION?).
- The candlelit banquet Hall imagines the Mad Hatter's tea party as something uniquely unstrung.
- Pan's Labyrinth addresses the "sins of the father" not as a death sentence, but as an opportunity to correct what's been broken: the bridge from the Old Testament's antisocial savagery to the New Testament's covenant to honour civility in the body and suckling morality of a child.
- One need not be Freud to smell the subtext to this archetypal story.
- Ancient Pagan myths and legends.
- Alchemy/Alchemists (lethal potions, ancient books, hourglass, subterranean worlds, labyrinth, mutations, monsters, evils and secrets).
- Comparison to Terry Gilliam.
- Schindler's List combined with Wizard of Oz.

Tommorow (D-Day Minus 1)

Tommorow we need to create the presentation.Surely we don't need as many slides as we did for the Romanticism, as we went over the time a bit. We can go a bit easier on this one. We'll need to combine all our research and create something which makes sense.

I'll be in at about 10, but I'm not sure how late I can stay, maybe until 3:30ish? We can mission it and hopefully we'll get it done.

Pan's Labyrinth

While watching the film I notice that the main characters see them selves differently. Ofelia as the type of heroine that needs to save her family, but keeps failing. While Captain Vindal sees him self as a symbol of a perfect Spain. What else that makes the Captain interesting is how he also sees himself, he is self aware of what he is doing and even though he sees this as a good thing, deep down the Captain knows that he is a monster.
Also the fighting between the military and the resistance represent the classic battle between the rich and the poor
We could look more into the condition of Spain after the Civil War

Alice Images

Maybe for one slide we can go through and compare the Alice illustrations with frames from the film. Here are some which look at lot like Pans Labryinth:

When Ofelia is wearing the 'Alice' dress:

When Ofelia is in the tunnel under the tree:

Ofelia going through the wall with the chalk, is a lot like going through the looking glass:

Monday, 22 March 2010

The Sands of Fairy Tales

I know you said about this in your notes, but I've found a quote bu Del Toro saying:

But, the one book that I would say was a huge influence on making the movie is a book called The Sands of Fairy Tales which is a recent catalog of all the primordial streaks of storytelling in fairy tale lore.

BUT - I also found a page saying that 'Sands' is a typo, and the book he meant was 'Science'.

The Science of Fairy Tales

The whole book seems to be available here:

We can have a look through it, find the parts which relate to the film and then maybe put some quotes alongside some screenshots from the film, which could work. 

Alice in Wonderland

I'm going to have a look at the similarities and influences of Alice in Wonderland with Pans Labryinth. There seem to be quite a few, so this could be one of our main themes.

Lewis Carroll's story was based around a 'young female protagonist who enters an underground fantasy world in search of escape from the tensions of her home',

"The little girl descending holes (following creatures) is a deliberate reminder of Alice..., and of other girls in fantasy realms, such as Lucy in Narnia."

"The book presented to Ofelia by the fawn has blank pages until she looks at it in the enchanted space of the bathroom. The image of the girl in the book is clearly Alice crawling into the rabbit hole."

As Ofelia approaches the first task, she is dressed as Alice – as originally illustrated by Sir John Tenniel
(You mentioned this earlier Ethan)

On her hands and knees beneath the tree Ofelia/Alice feels oversized. The frog creature is like any number of creatures encountered by Alice in Wonderland.

Guillermo del Toro has cited Arthur Rackham’s later illustrations of Alice in Wonderland as an influence on the look of the film.

The faun judges Ofelia harshly, then fades away in the darkness like the Cheshire Cat in Alice.  

Pan's Labyrinth Notes...

Here are the notes i made after listening to Guillermo Del Toro's commentary on the film. There's some informaion that ay not be that relevant, but i've indicated the important information with an exclamatio mark. Also, there are some names that i need to check out because i couldn't quite hear what Del Toro was saying, so i'll post them up later if i can work out who he is talking about.


! - Jorge Luis Borges wrote a book about the Labyrinth which Del Toro references in his commentary.
- War and destruction being used in contrast to the fairytale narrative. Juxtaposition of violence and fantasy/magic.
- It's a sister film to the Devil's Backbone, also directed by Del Toro.
! - Influences include:
- Hans Christian Anderson (Little Match Girl).
- The Wizard of Oz (Which he references at the end of the film.)
- Alice in Wonderland (Which he references with the green version of Alice's dress.)
- Oscar Wilde
- A warm colour pallette in the fairytale world sompared to the cold colour pallette of the real world.
! - Straight lines used in the real world; round lines used in the fantasy world and when the girl is important to the storyline.
- Wipes resemble the turning of pages.
! - Celtic art (North Spain origin).
- Ambiguity in the fairies and the faun (are the good or are they bad?).
! - A faun in Classical mythology is a creature that is neutral, that represents nature. Only in America is the movie called Pan's Labyrnth. It was the Faun's Labyrinth in Spanish. The faun is meant to be a orce of creation and destruction.
! - Pink Floyd, The Wall inspired the scene with the blood in the book, it's an echo to the prologue of Is There Anybody Out There (in terms of sound).
! - Alfonso - The Little Princess, one of Del Toro's favourite films/stories as a child.
- Every other scene you get a magical or reality scene like a checker board effect.
! - It is a Romantic movie, full of a spirit of hope and dispair at the same time.
! - St. lucy statue similar to the ogre at the dining table. The ogre at the dining table replicates the stature of the Fascist at the dining table.
! - The monster is an ogre, a classical element in a fairytale. It has a lot of food in front of it but only eats innocents (in this case children).
! - The 3 doors is another fairytale element. she disobeys the fairies and opens the 1st door, similar to the Labyrinth film.
! - Goya (etchings and black paintings) Saturn devouring his son, the scene with the eyes in the Ogre's hands is a reference to this painting.
! - Artist Influences:
- Arthur Rackham
- Edmund Dulac
- ? (There was one more he mentioned but i couldn't hear him)
These were golden age fairytale illustrators.
! - Painterly Influences (Symbolist painters):
- Arnold Bocklin
- Arnold Schwang? (Again i misheard this name so i'm not sure that's right).
- Feliciene Rops (I misheard this name but i think this is the correct person).
These artists were all part of the Symbolism era, the gothic side to Romanticism i believe.
! - Intersect with Romantic Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood painters.
- Crossroads of each character in terms of choices.
- The Labyrinth can be seen as a metaphor of the twists and turns of life with an inevitable centre.
- Many of the real-life characters are representatives of common fairytale characters.
! - Immortality and Spirituality as well as Religion were often brought up.
- The tree resembles the Fallopian tube.
! - The Sands of Fairytales? (I read this was an important book in an interview with Del Toro).
! - The soundtrack is structured around a lullaby and can be classed as Contemporary Classical music.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

'Freestyle' Symposium... Topic - Pan's Labrynth...

So Sam and i were discussing earlier what our topic should be and we've cme up with Pan's Labrynth. If you haven't seen it, i'm pretty sure there's a copy in the library. Anyway, there is a lot that be written about this film and it relates back to our last symposium in terms of fairytales and folklore...

Monday, 15 March 2010

need help

i need to know what books we used for the romanticsim presentation?
if anyone has it please put the list in the comments
thank you