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Pan’s Labyrinth study

I chose to make a painting study from “Pan’s Labyrinth” because it is a movie that mixes the brutal reality of Spain just after its civil war with the perspective of a young girl that is confronted with it. It is a compelling story because there is a constant shift of perspective between a young girl and her imagined, perhaps partly real fantasies, and the characters that surround her that offer a sobering view of their reality.

One of the characters is a Spanish captain given the task of killing off the remaining militia in the area that hide in the mountain, those that oppose Franco’s regime. The ruthlessness of the captain creates a strong impression in those that surround him, including the girl that guides the story of the movie.


The study is from a scene in which the girl is tasked to retrieve a key from a room that contains a monster. When she enters the room, the monster is simply sitting in front of a banquet, as if asleep. In front of him is a banquet with all sorts of delicious foods one could ever think of, making anyone who enters have a strong temptation to take something from the table, since the monster looks asleep.


The girl gives into the temptation to take some grapes from a bowl, and the monster awakens. The monster puts his eyes on its hands as if putting some glasses on to see, and the result is the shot that I have recreated. For some reason this shot specifically is very compelling to me, like a terrifying humanoid figure that is emerging from its deep sleep to eat one more victim. The image that this scene evokes is very terrifying, with an innocent young girl on the one hand who is unable to stop herself from the temptation of eating something from the banquet, and then the awakening of a monster that will not stop until it has captured its prey.


Perhaps this imagery alludes to the complicated nature of the country at the time, with a dictatorship that basically devoured anybody that tried to take from Franco’s wealth banquet. The monster is perhaps a representation of a human that has been corrupted by greed and desire to amass wealth, unable to give off a single piece of food without getting triggered into violence. The story does not specify the origins of the monster, but the impression is given that it has been in that chamber for a long time, awaiting its next prey in a state of dormancy.

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