Pan's Labyrinth Notes Mise-En-Scene

  • Created by: 13boneo
  • Created on: 01-02-19 12:39


Opening Sequence

The opening shot of Ofelia laying dying played in reverse is graded in a cool, blue colour palette. This palette goes on to characterise the Captain for the rest of the film as emotionless and brutal, and the fact that it appears in the opening shot also links Ofelia's death to Vidal. When we see this shot repeated at the end of the film, however, a gold palette is used instead, suggesting the details we see of Ofelia's underground kingdom and her throne there make this death a happier one in comparison, as Ofelia is leaving the conflict of her life above ground behind.

Once the setting changes to the real world, we are shown ruins with skeletons just outside the forest. The skeletons are indicative of the tragedies of the civil war and the fact they lay partially exposed rather than fully submerged by the soil suggests that people are still recovering from the conflict. The ruins themselves appear to be those of a church, thus representing the loss of trust the people of Spain had experienced in the Church after it chose to represent fascism.

The dust particles seen floating in the forest when the convoy stops for Carmen add to the supernatural feel of the setting, as they move in a similar, floating way to the fairies that later assist Ofelia. These particles therefore indicate that magic is present.

First Bedtime Sequence

We see Ofelia attempt to bond with her unborn brother for the first time in this sequence when she tells him the story of the rose, which represents the freedom of the Spanish people because it is made unobtainable by the thorns, symbolic of fascism, that surround it. Furthermore, roses are both romantic imagery and appear in fairytales such as Beauty & The Beast, which cements the fact that Ofelia has been influenced by many different stories.

The Captain's room is structurally very similar


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