Analysis of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth
In Pan's Labyrinth everything becomes a symbol from the actor to the background set-up. Del Toro is an erudite creator to whom the images and icons of past ages are the manifold fragments of an occult and mystic truth. In his point of view, directing a film is the art of putting together those fragments in a coherent discourse. Hence, in Pan's Labyrinth a broken watch can speak to the viewer with the same power as the acting does. Del Toro's filming transforms statue into actor and actor into statue, because the lineament of the image and the meaning they convey are worthy of dramatic emotion.
But at others it runs parallel to reality: Ofelia places under her mother’s bed a mandrake root, bathed in milk and fed on blood, which mirrors the real-life fetus that drains the mother of life. The sinister faux baby squirms and squeals when thrown on the fire. Finally, fantasy may follow reality. A luscious feast of blood-red berries and jellies, guarded by Doug Jones’s truly disturbing Pale Man (his eyeballs inserted into the palms of his hands), echoes the real-life dinner for the Francoist victors presided over by the sadistic Captain, which we have already been shown.