Fantasy in Historical Context: Pan's Labyrinth
Nothing is better than a great work of fiction positions itself into an even richer, more dynamic historical context. Pan’s Labyrinth, the 2006 dark fantasy film by Guillermo del Toro, is tactifully positioned in the historical context of the Spanish Civil War. The line between fantasy and reality is tread by the characters in this film as they deal with the tyranny and oppression of reality’s current regime, and the fantastical unknown of the underworld.
We are joined by our editor Evelyn Rupert (our resident expert on all things Spanish) as she breaks down the history and tragedy of the Spanish Civil War, which is often overshadowed by World War II.
This film especially offers a unique lens into perspective. All of us view the world in radically different ways based on our past experiences, beliefs and station in life. Each character’s motivations in this film can tell us some fascinating truths about the human condition. One exercise we like to partake in is creating “character matrices” which map character relationships as a kit of parts, in order to understand the web that organizes them.
(Above you will find an example of a character matrix. This particular matrix is centered around Ofelia, the film's young protagonist. The north part of the diagram represents reality, and the south part fantasy that only Ofelia can see. The concentric rings represent how close of a relationship the characters have with Ofelia. This is a typical diagram we would use to aid our discussion during the podcast taping to understand the arc of the stories through the characters stories)