Study Guide

Pan's Labyrinth Point of View

Point of View

Traveling with Transitions

In a film that cuts back and forth between different worlds, the types of transition are obviously going to be key.

Let's start with the first notable transition we get hit with right from the start. Our first image is of a dying Ofelia, lying on the ground. As we move closer to her face and see the blood is actually returning to her, we end up zooming all the way in through her eye and into the Underground Realm.

We're essentially entering Ofelia's body: we're going into her world—a world of fantasy and war—to experience her story. We can see the Faun because Ofelia can see the Faun as we travel through her eye and gain her perspective.

Then there's a more subtle transition between Ofelia's story of the rose (which ends with her talking about its promise of eternal life), and the following scene in which we see Vidal winding his father's watch that doesn't work. Just like the immortality offered by the rose, Vidal's father has created a way to immortalize himself through his legacy of the watch and through his son's obsession with it.

There're plenty of other interesting transitions, like the one from Ofelia carrying her key to the Faun to the shot of Vidal using the storeroom key to give out rations. Or the cut from the beginning of Ferreiro's amputation to the shot of Ofelia pulling out the Book of Crossroads.

Then there are the series of vertical and horizontal wipes used to transition between the fantasy and human world. We can see this in an upward wipe as we move from Ofelia in the bathtub to Ofelia in the labyrinth.

We also see it in the parallel scenes of Ofelia and the soldiers traveling through the woods, where a tree is used to wipe between the two scenes. These wipes create a sense of closeness, a proximity between both worlds that suggests they're intertwined with one another.

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