12 thoughts on “Pan’s Labyrinth: Allegory of Spanish Civil War – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. hi . i know you want the world be a better place . so when i saw a website of an antiwar organization , i remembered you. i suggest you to gather with us in this community . ( im so sorry and i apologize if what i say in English is funny! im really sorry but i cant speak English better! )
    oh ! please visit my weblog . i changed template ! i really hope for your comment!
    thank you my brother! ( notice : muslims call each other my brother ) 😉

  2. I saw the film today and cannot stop thinking about it. I want to think Ophelia became the princess and continued on. How did she get out of the locked room near the end and why did the Captain not see the faun she was speaking too? She then gave her last breath after seeing her kingdom? I want to think the fantasy was real. Otherwise I am left utterly depressed by her sacrifice.

  3. I want to think the fantasy was real. Otherwise I am left utterly depressed by her sacrifice.

    No, the fantasy wasn’t real at least imho. But because it was an allegory it alows you the beauty of reading the film on 2 levels: one the hard, cold, brutal reality that was Franco’s Spanish fascism & the infinite suffering it inflicted on the Spanish nation in the person of Ofelia; the second is the allegorical level in which her suffering transforms her into a princess AND allows the tree return to its glory. The tree is, as I said, the tree of liberty & allegorically Spain herself. Spain could never have returned to its glory w/o the blood & suffering of the Ofelias of the republican resistance.

    Yes, it is a terribly sad & depressing film, no doubt. But one cannot forget the glorious thing Spain has turned into in the aftermath of Franco’s death. The film wants you to remember both.

  4. I think that Ofelia’s story was 100% real. If it was completely psychological and meant only to represent the Spanish struggle, then why have the post-death sequence in the kingdom? I think Del Toro realized that not everyone would see it through a historical/metaphorical lens and used Ofelia’s arrival in the kingdom as a way to not only symbolize the struggle of the Spanish loyalists but to also tie up Ofelia’s character and give it some semblance of a happy ending.

    I saw it through a different lens completely. I saw it through a religious scope (not sure if Del Toro envisioned it that way or not) but obviously the movie says a lot about sacrifice and losing your life to truly gain it. Every action that Ofelia made in that movie was for the ultimate end of Ofelia losing her physical life.

  5. “I want to think the fantasy was real. Otherwise I am left utterly depressed by her sacrifice.”

    I believe the fairy tale was real the way it was presented. There are a few cues that the fairytale was real and not just imagined by Ofelia. There are some objects and creatures that come into the real world. For example the chalk, the book with empty pages which would show the story only if Ofelia was completely alone, the root underneath her mother’s bed. They all came in contact with other people.
    For the story to have a completely tragic ending Ofelia should have failed to become the princess. The movie as having both a tragic and a happy ending at the same time.

    “why did the Captain not see the faun she was speaking too?”

    The fairytale is a very secret realm. Even Ofelia, the princess, has to pass through some tough challenges to have access to it. Why would a brute be able to even see the faun? Besides, the Captain is a grown up and doesn’t believe in that kind of nonsense.

  6. I glanced at your article, and i think you are mistaken to make the Captain and Ophelia allegories of Franco and Spain. They represent something much broader than that. Try looking at it through these glasses: Captain Videl represents that thing in everyone that desires immortality, and Ophelia represents escapism.

    try tossing that around a bit.

  7. As a film student, I have studied this film, and have read in depth into Del Toro’s meanings and aims for the film. From this, I have concluded that Vidal represents the brutal and harsh reality that Ofelia has found herself in. He not only commits the most cruel of acts, but also acts as a barrier between Ofelia and her true destiny in the same way that he acts a barrier between Spain and it’s destiny. Both ultimately, are searching for freedom. Ofelia’s trips into the fantasy world, I believe, are real. As mentioned by DanP, items from Ofelia’s fantasy world make their way into the ‘real’ world. Yet, none of these itmes are actually seen in the same way by others as they are by Ofelia. As much as one would like to believe the fantasy is real, it could be Ofelia’s need to escape from the world she is living in. Throughout the film, there are references to Fauns placed strategically around the set – the horn pattern on the mother’s bed, above every door in the mill house there is a simple faun carved, the fig tree is in the shape of Pan’s horns and the blood pattern in Ofelia’s book. With faun’s being placed around Ofelia’s surroundings it could be that her visits with Pan are just dreams, and the reference to a faun comes from the images in her surroundings. Of course, it could all be just as real as you and I.

  8. What about the meaning of the recurring circle (windows in the house, carvings in the underground cave, the lantern)? Is it symbolic, or a nod to Gaudi? Or is it merely stylistically important to the era geographically?

  9. Methinks there might be some symbolism that’s been missed here. An immortal being who leaves her fathers kingdom,
    despite warnings not to, becomes mortal, then dies. Her father grieves at the disobedience that leads to his child’s separation from him, but always believes his child will return one day. Finally, after a sacrificial act, the child returns to the father, restored, and to the thunderous applause and joy of all those in the fathers court. What does this remind me of? Hmmm??

  10. “Loyalist” not “royalist”. The royalists aka the Carlist fought for Franco and the fascists. The girls mother and father were loyal to the democratically elected government which were predominantly socialists.

  11. May seem trivial but when you say “royalist” to refer those who fought Franco’s piggies you mean either loyalist or republican.

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