The Fantasy World of A Girl: Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth

By Keiko Kimura.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In Pan’s Labyrinth /El laberinta del fauno (2006) by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, the fantasy world invented by a girl named Ofelia and the real world under the fascist government of General Franco are interwoven. Ofelia is obliged to create the fantasy world as a means of withdrawal from the harshness of real life. Her imagination is accelerated because of the terror and cruelty in front of her, but for her the boundary between the real world and the fantasy world is ambiguous. In addition to that, her pre-pubescent psychic state is reflected in the world she creates. By combining the fantasy world and the real world, del Toro also depicts a girl’s growth. In this film, the story of Ofelia’s death/rebirth and her initiation process is told.
The choice of labyrinth in the title is important. For a child, reaching the center of a labyrinth is one of the trials and getting out from it means rebirth to another higher phase: growing into adulthood. Del Toro depicts the process of initiation in which a girl becomes an adult woman utilizing the imagery of the labyrinth.

Keywords: Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Labyrinth

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.79-88. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 739.236KB).

Dr. Keiko Kimura

Professor, English, Kobe Women’s University, Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan

Keiko Kimura teaches at Kobe Women’s University, Japan. She specializes in Comparative Literature and Noh Theater.