Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), directed by Guillermo Del Toro, shows numerous narrative features that develop the idea that time is in control when you’re against reality. Conflict is a main feature shown in Pan’s Labyrinth, it shows the struggling choices and problems characters face through either other characters, the environment or in this case time and reality. We watch Ofelia fight against is her imagination between reality and fantasy, struggling to get back home to her ‘real family’ in the Underworld rather than her actual family with her mother and Captain Vidal. As time slowly runs out for Ofelia, Vidal is on the hunt to kill her and get Ofelia’s baby brother back. Through transition cuts we watch as Captain Vidal finds Ofelia who is suppose to be talking to the Faun, but seen through three transitions we figure out Vidal can’t see the Faun once he looks over to Ofelia. It seems as though she’s talking to only herself.
This explains that the Faun and fairy are part of Ofelia’s imagination and aren’t part of her reality, making them unreal. The purpose of this is to explain to the audience that Ofelia’s conflict with her imagination on whether to sacrifice herself in order to get back ‘home’ in the Underworld has led her to her own death over time. This development of the story is important because it creates a visual understanding that Ofelia’s love for fairy tales has ultimately taken over her life and changed her perspective, even if was to keep herself distracted while staying with Captain Vidal who she doesn’t feel safe with. We watch that time slowly controls Ofelia’s direction as it leads her to a dead-end which is her death.
For exposition it gives an idea of the background story between a character, setting or event, it introduces the main idea which for us is that time is in control when you’re against reality. When Ofelia’s heavily pregnant and sick mother stops their ride from feeling ill, Ofelia finds a broken piece of stone with the carving of an eye along the path. Finding a hidden statue, Ofelia perfectly fits the broken piece of stone into the statue in which a stick insect shows itself and Ofelia believes is a fairy. This indicates to the audience that she is mixing her unreal reality into her actual reality. Diegetic sound is used in relation to the exposition especially when Ofelia’s mother quotes “Why did you bring so much books, Ofelia. We’re going to the country, the outdoors.”. This exposition shows us that Ofelia is in danger with her imagination.
This indicates to us that through Ofelia’s love of books and fairy tales she’s mixing them in with her reality. This is because she realizes that she doesn’t belong with Captain Vidal and creates the idea that she has another family in the Underworld she has forgotten about. Its purpose is to show us that Ofelia doesn’t feel safe or comfortable living with Captain Vidal and with the choices he makes.
Overall, through the two narrative features of exposition and conflict, we learn that the main purpose and idea of the film is that time is in control when you’re against reality. It looks at the confusing struggles on real versus non-real and teaches us that our mind will do anything to make us feel safe in a place we are not. We see this through Ofelia’s discomfort living with Captain Vidal and seeks safety through the Underworld where her other family is.