Pan’s Labyrinth Paleman Scene Notes

25-06-2019 11:06




  • Book opening – light is on her face
  • Gold/yellow lighting against the blue lighting – different worlds, separates them and the colour connotations
  • Camera tracking out – separation
  • Dramatic irony – Ofelia doesn’t know that the Paleman is awake
  • Camera mainly focused on Ofelia
  • Low key lighting to high key lighting
  • Reverse tracking shot to see how big the space is


Mise en Scene


  • Paleman’s arms in book (that shows task pictures)– fallopian tube shape – bildungsroman genre
  • Stigmata in the Paleman’s hands
  • Horrific images around the room – foreshadowing brother (?), link to Goya’s painting and Nazi’s, evokes fear and terror. Like church paintings (not the content, the style of painting)
  • Shoe pile – war – Nazi, and/or false princesses
  • Sharp dagger – danger
  • Red food – danger
  • Red in the Paleman’s room
  • Hourglass
  • In the book, Ofelia’s left hand covers the middle lock, she picks the left lock (symbolising left-wing politics and adding to theme of disobedience), intuitive
  • Church like
  • Fire – hell
  • Floor lines don’t match







  • Paleman walks rigid and stiff – like the faun, scary
  • Paleman’s actions are elongated and exaggerated
  • Ofelia – determination and cleverness
  • Paleman is slower, Ofelia could easily overpower him especially with the dagger, but she chooses not to which opposes her to Vidal
  • Both Vidal and the Paleman sit at the head of the table – Paleman is possibly a symbol for fascism
  • Picks the left lock – intuitive, symbol for left wing politics
  • Fairies laugh at the Paleman
  • Ofelia climbs up to get out – hell
  • Head and feet in separate worlds – makes it seem real (use of cinematography as well – coloured lighting)





  • Action reaction shot when Ofelia runs away to heighten the tension
  • Parallel action of the timer – tension





  • Sounds like you can hear breathing
  • Ofelia’s heavy breathing
  • Loud bangs when the Paleman wakes up
  • Cracking and strained breathing of the Paleman
  • Animal sounds – Paleman
  • Tense music?
  • Drumming – heartbeat
  • Exaggerated fantastical sounds – key, dagger
  • Fairy sound like the insect
  • Wind
  • Fire sound
  • Eye sound
  • Screaming babies when we see the pictures
  • Mechanical like sounds after Ofelia enters back – back to reality?





  • Fantasy (e.g. sound of dagger and key)



Messages/Meanings/Response and Themes


  • Fascist symbols/metaphors
  • Fantasy/Fantastical
  • Bildungsroman
  • Gothic?
  • Horror?
  • How the war effects children (something del Toro often explores such as in ‘The Devils Backbone’ which he refers to as the sister film of Pan’s Labyrinth)
  • Disobedience – disobeying is why Ofelia succeeds throughout the movie, and why she can enter the fantasy world at the end of the movie. It links to disobeying fascism and standing up for what is right, and how children are the hope for the future. It links to hoe the doctor told Vidal that obeying without questioning was something only people like him (Vidal) did.



Aesthetic Effects/Aesthetics


  • Use of colour – red food, red room
  • Use of coloured lighting – blue (low key) vs the gold/yellow



Representation (continues on the next page)






  • Paleman is old
  • Ofelia is young and strong, a hope for the future (in terms of going against fascism, disobeying, etc)





  • Ofelia breaks gender stereotypes and expectations
  • Bildungsroman genre and fallopian tube imagery





  • World War 2, holocaust and Nazi’s
  • Spanish Civil War and fascism
  • Goya’s painting of Saturn eating his son



Paleman and Vidal Links


  • They could both be a symbol for fascism, and how fascism effects children (Ofelia)
  • Paleman is powerful but weak – this could be like Vidal
  • They both sit at the head of the table