The opening image is that of the protagonist, Ofelia, lying on the ground with blood seeping from her nose. This image sets the tone for the upcoming fairy tale, and tells us that the story of Pan's Labyrinth will be far darker and more haunting than expected.
Throughout the film, Captain Vidal has an obsessive attention to his pocket watch. He polishes and dusts the inside of it, and maintains a strict and unforgiving relationship to time. The persistent images of Vidal looking at his watch represents his sense of order and his obsessive attention to detail.
For her second task, Ofelia must go through a portal into a large banquet hall, where a child-eating monster is sitting at the head of a table. He is a scary and unusual looking monster, with two eyeballs sitting on the platter in front of him. When Ofelia mistakenly eats food off the table, he puts the eyeballs into the palms of his hands and holds his hands up to his face, a terrifying image of a mythical beast.
Early in their stay at Vidal's, Carmen gives Ofelia a fine green dress that looks a lot like Alice's dress and apron from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Ofelia promptly wears it into the forest when she goes to complete her first task for the faun. She hangs the dress on a branch outside the tree in which the toad lives, and when she emerges from the tree, she finds that the dress is muddy and wet, as the weather has turned bad. The image of the muddy dress represents the ways that Ofelia neglects her adult obligations in favor of chasing fairy tales.
Pan’s Labyrinth Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Pan’s Labyrinth is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.