Film Analysis: Pan’s Labyrinth


  • This film is about a young girl, Ofelia, who goes to live in Spain with her new father. Around the house, there is a labyrinth where magical creatures live.

Film Analysis

Film TitlePan’s Labyrinth
DirectorGuillermo del Toro
If you could work on this film (change it), what would you change and why?I would have removed some of the gore, I think that it doesn’t add anything to the film.

Film information can be found at

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who is the protagonist?Ofelia
2. Who is the antagonist?Capitan Vidal
3. What is the conflict?Ofelia needs to complete 3 tasks before the full moon, and struggles to do so.
4. What is the theme or central, unifying concept? (summarize in one or two words)Good vs. Evil
5. How is the story told (linear, non-linear, with flashbacksflash-forwards, at regular intervals)Linear
6. What “happens” in the plot (Brief description)?Ofelia has to complete 3 tasks that she is given by a faun, and she manages to complete 2. Meanwhile, the house is being attacked, and the soldiers are having to defend it. In the end, the Captain kills Ofelia, but is then killed.
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
The music fits the scene that the characters are in and the emotions they are feeling.
The camera angles are also really good, and sometimes show just the character, and sometimes a larger view of the surrounding area.
8. Is the setting realistic or stylized? What atmosphere does the setting suggest? Do particular objects or settings serve symbolic functions?The setting is realistic for most of the film, but for some parts of the film, it is fantasy.
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?The costumes and make up is really good. All of the outfits look appropriate for the time period, and the monsters looked pretty good as well.
10. How does the lighting design shape our perception of character, space, or mood?The lighting worked really well. In the tree trunk, the lighting was dim, making it feel like we were there. Also, for some of the darker scenes at the end of the movie, the lighting was a bit darker as well.
11. How do camera angles and camera movements shape our view of characters or spaces? What do you see cinematically?The camera angles are pretty good in this movie. The make you focus on either the character with a close up shot, or have you focus more on the scene with wider shots.
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?The music’s purpose is to add more than just what is being shown on screen. It was tense at times, and sad at other times. We also heard a similar melody throughout the film, making it seem familiar to us.
13. How might industrial, social, and economic factors have influenced the film? Describe how this film influences or connects to a culture?The film takes place in 1944, and the people who were making the film did their best job to make the way that people acted, the cloths they wore, and all the props be from that time era. This was also a very wealthy family, and they showed that with the cars and the house.
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.Stratton, David. “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, 12 Nov. 2014.
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.01:33:15 – 01:35:58 In this scene, Mercedes is running away from the soldiers. They catch up then get shot.
I chose this scene because it had good music, camera angles, and camera movement. It shows the emotion that is being felt during the scene, and this accurately represents the movie.
16. In the selected scenewrite a sentence for each of the elements below to justify why this scene best represents the film:
a. Screenwriting:All of the shots are very well done, we travel with Mercedes through the forest, it is clear that we are focusing on her.
b. Sound Design:All of the sounds, music and effects are on point, and sound very realistic.
c. Camera Movements/Angles:The shots and cuts are very good, and portray the intensity of the scene.
d. Light Setup:It starts out lighter when Mercedes is in the direct sunlight, then gets a bit darker when she enters the forest.
e. Soundtrack/Score:The soundtrack climbs to a climax, when she is captured, and portrays how she is feeling in the moment.
18. What’s the socio-cultural context of this film?It makes you think about good vs. evil, and the movie does a good job at capturing that.

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

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