Film Analysis: Pan’s Labyrinth

Film Analysis

Film TitlePan’s Labyrinth
DirectorGuillermo del Toro
If you could work on this film (change it), what would you change and why?

Film information can be found at

As you view films, consider how the cuts, camera angles, shots, and movement work to create particular meanings. Think about how they establish space, privilege certain characters, suggest relationships, and emphasize themes. In addition to shot distances, angles, editing, and camera movement, note details of the narrative, setting, characters, lighting, props, costume, tone, and sound.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who is the protagonist?Ofelia
2. Who is the antagonist?Captain Vidal
3. What is the conflict?Ofelia is trying to escape from her stepdad while the rebels struggle to deal with the main force.
4. What is the theme or central, unifying concept? (summarize in one or two words)Innocence
5. How is the story told (linear, non-linear, with flashbacksflash-forwards, at regular intervals)Linear
6. What “happens” in the plot (Brief description)?During a civil war in Spain, a young girl deals with magic while a plot unfolds involving the rebels and the military. As it goes along Ofelia continues to explore the magical side of stuff she discovered while a spy and the doctor help the rebellion. Eventually, Ofelia’s mother gives birth and dies during it. She attempts to escape with her younger brother but is stopped and killed at the end, right before the rebels win against the forces and kill the leader.
7. How does the film influence particular reactions on the part of viewers (sound, editing,
characterization, camera movement, etc.)? Why does the film encourage such
It does it a lot with it’s dialogue and shot composition. The cruelty or brutality of what is happening is enough to solicit a reaction.
8. Is the setting realistic or stylized? What atmosphere does the setting suggest? Do particular objects or settings serve symbolic functions?It is very realistic. The sets and grim style of the background contributed to this.
9. How are the characters costumed and made-up? What does their clothing or makeup reveal about their social standing, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or age? How do costume and makeup convey character?It reveals a lot about the setting.
10. How does the lighting design shape our perception of character, space, or mood?It sets a very grim and dark mood.
11. How do camera angles and camera movements shape our view of characters or spaces? What do you see cinematically?The camera angles really don’t do anything significant in this movie.
12. What is the music’s purpose in the film? How does it direct our attention within the image? How does it shape our interpretation of the image? What stands out about the music?It just gives a sense of wonder or sets a somber tone when it needs to.
13. How might industrial, social, and economic factors have influenced the film? Describe how this film influences or connects to a culture?It talks about the war and what can happen during that.
14. Give an example of what a film critic had to say about this film. Use credible sources and cite sources.Example: “The Shawshank Redemption Movie Review (1994) | Roger Ebert.” All Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2015.“The story is a compelling and deeply involving one, and the film is both beautiful, exciting, and sometimes horrifying. The creature effects are superbly handled.”
(Rotten Tomatoes user review)
15. Select one scene no longer than 5 minutes that represents well the whole film and shows relevant cinematic elements. Write a one-sentence description of the scene and record the time of the scene.Example: from 1:05:00 to 1:10:00.Explain why you chose this scene.7:50-9:16 
Shows the desperation of Ofelia trying to hold on to her innocence and disconnection from the war
16. In the selected scenewrite a sentence for each of the elements below to justify why this scene best represents the film:
a. Screenwriting:It establishes the connection and dynamics that are seen throughout the movie.
b. Sound Design:Sets up a wonderous yet somber tone.
c. Camera Movements/Angles:Doesn’t do much shot wise.
d. Light Setup:Doesn’t do much lighting wise.
e. Soundtrack/Score:The soundtrack is exaggerated and epic in a way. It provides a sense of awe towards what is happening. Or it provides a very saddening and somber tone.
18. What’s the socio-cultural context of this film?The civil war in Spain during WW2

This worksheet was developed with ideas from many IB Film teachers, thus should remain in the Creative Commons

Mr. Le Duc’s Film Analysis Resources

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