The walls fall down: Fantasy and power in El laberinto del fauno

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Guillermo del Toro's El laberinto del fauno/Pan's Labyrinth combines the imagery of fantasy cinema for children and the narrative structure of a fairy tale with the brutality and violence of the Spanish Civil War. This article explores the way El laberinto del fauno's setting and genre create surprising tensions between historical and fantastic narratives. Through a viewing of the film as an elaboration of different processes of power, the role of the child and the significance of the family structure are brought into conjunction with the history of violence. Strategies of exclusion as well as strategic transgressions, rules and rule-breaking, law and imagination all serve to create divergent paths through the labyrinth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalStudies in Hispanic cinemas
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • fairy tales
  • fantasy
  • violence
  • Del Toro
  • childhood
  • Civil War


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