IB Text Analysis: Pan’s Labyrinth

IB Text Analysis: Pan’s Labyrinth

“Director/Conductor” by La Chachalaca Fotografía is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0


A guide to planning, researching, and creating your IB Film Text Analysis

  • Follow the directions for each step below
  • Include for your notes, where required

Student Work

  • Justin’s Post, Draft Paper, Bibliography
  • Neil’s Post, Draft Paper, Bibliography
  • Satchel’s Post, Draft Paper, Bibliography
  • Dexter’s Post, Draft Paper, Bibliography
  • Sam’s Post, Draft Paper, Bibliography
  • Jadee’s Post, Draft Paper, Bibliography
  • Laari’s Post, Draft Paper, Bibliography

Guidance for Your Work

The TA is an exam. Failure to turn in the work within the 4 weeks, unless the teacher requests extenuating circumstances directly from the IB, should be considered a fail.” – IB Film

13.5 Hours To Complete

  • Please track how long it took you for each stage

Step 1 – Preparation: Spend 2 Hours

Total Time: 26:28

Step 2 – Pick a Film, Watch It, and Write Notes: Spend 4.5 Hours

Total Time:

The goal of IB Film is to expose students to films from all over the world and to increase their critical and practical understanding of film as a creative art form and reflection of its time period, society, and political and cultural environment. As a result, this class requires the viewing of a wide variety of films. In some cases, these films may carry an R rating, or, in the case of films made before 1968 and some foreign films, will have no rating at all. Please be assured that all the films selected for this course have a high degree of artistic merit and that many have won numerous awards and are considered part of the film canon. However, if you object to any film shown that does carry an “R” rating, you will always have the opportunity to request that an alternative film be assigned, and/or be excused from class and not view the film.

  1. Watch the trailers and pick ONE of these films (or the two episodes) (10 minutes)
    • Pan’s Labyrinth [Spain/Mexico] Director Guillermo Del Toro 2006 (Rated R)
      • Trailer
      • Available on Netflix and other streaming services
      • Google Drive (Film and Commentary)
    • Across the Universe [USA] Director Julie Taymor 2007 (Rated PG-13)
      • Trailer
      • Available on Hulu and other streaming services
      • Google Drive (Film, Commentary, and Extra Features)
    • The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 1 Ep. 01 and 02 [USA] Director Reed Morano 2017 (Rated R – Mature Rating on Hulu)
  2. Review Drew’s TA Guide Sheet (he scored very high!) (10 minutes)
  3. First Viewing: Watch the film and record your reactions (2 hours)
    • Take notes (below in this post)
      • How does the film (various scenes) affect you?
      • Remember every scene is like a mini-movie
      • Pay attention to which scene best represents the film, for you
        • When the captain grabs Ofelia’s hand, it makes me think he’s the bad guy
        • The labyrinth has a hellish look to it
        • The Doctor seems to be a good guy
        • The medicine he gave her looks to have importance
        • The room has a blue green color
        • interesting shot of the fetus transitioning to the rose in Ofelia’s story
        •  The scene where the captain kills the farmer and his son was powerful
        • The fairy looks weird, not fairytale like. The movie is not uplifting
        • Ofelia is not scared by the faun
        • The book revealing itself was mysteriously shot
        •  When Ofelia enters the fig tree, the stuff in the air looks mystical
        • The scene with the toad was disgusting from start to end. It shows what Ofelia is willing to go through
        • Ofelia has ruined her dress to pursue the tasks, she seems happy about it
        •  when we first see where Ofelia is going with the chalk, the hallway looks hostile, along with the room with the feast and the monster in it
        •  the silence is deafening to the point where just the key being out makes a sound
        • when Ofelia eats the grape, seeing the fairy put it’s head in it’s hands helps us to realize the gravity of the situation before the monster even wakes up
        • the rain makes the fighting scene seem gritty
        •  It is hard to watch Pedro mess up when he can’t count to three without stuttering
        • The faun yells at Ofelia, but she isn’t concerned about the noise, only what he is saying
        • It’s hard to watch the doctor kill Pedro
        •  the scene with Mercedes and the captain was very intense
        • The scene where Mercedes cuts up the captain is very brutal
        •  When the captain is chasing Ofelia through the labyrinth, there is high tension
  4. Second Viewing: Notice the cinematography, mise en scene, actor movement, wardrobe, sound (diegetic, non-diegetic, music, etc.) choices (2 hours)
    • Review the Big List of Film Terms for cinematic elements, mise en scene (what’s represented on screen), and sound
    • Write notes (below in this post)

Step 3 – Choose Your Extract, Watch It, Write Notes, and Research: 2.5 hours

Total Time: 1:41:06

  1. Open your TA Bibliography Google Doc (In Your IB Google Drive Folder – Mr. Le Duc created)
    • You will add your MLA sources as you research
  2. Choose your 5-minute extract (scene)
  3. Re-watch this scene numerous times and write notes in the Task Analysis Guide (below) (15 minutes)
  4. Research to support your notes (1 hour)
      • Cultural context Evidence: Textual analysis and sources
        • Answer these questions:
          • To what extent do you demonstrate an understanding of the cultural context of the film text?
          • To what extent do you support your understanding of the cultural context with research from appropriate and relevant sources?
    • Add to your notes in the Task Analysis Guide
  5. Re-watch your scene numerous times and add to your notes (15 minutes)
  6. Research to support your notes (1 hour)
    • Re-read Criterion B Film Elements Rubric
      • Evidence: Textual analysis and sources
        • To what extent do you evaluate how the extract makes use of film elements to convey meaning in the chosen film?
        • To what extent do you support your observations with the appropriate use of relevant film vocabulary?
    • Write notes (below in this post)

Step 4 – Compose A Rough Draft: 2 hours

Total Time: 52:16

  1. Watch Mr. Le Duc’s Convert a Table into Text with Editpad.org tutorial and do the following: (5 minutes)
    1. Copy and paste the two columns of your Text Analysis Guide notes (below) into editpad.org
      • This will convert your two-column table layout into a regular text document
    2. Copy and paste from editpad.org into your Google Docs TA Paper Template
  2. Thoroughly re-read and examine your work with the Text Analysis Rubric (PDF) (10 minutes)
  3. Compose your rough draft (1.75 hours)
    • Weave in your research the following
    • WHAT: Your observation about a film element in the 5-minute scene
    • WHY: Relate the film element to the shot or scene’s emotional or narrative importance
    • HOW: Explain how the film element works in the context of this scene
    • SO WHAT: Justify it with the cultural context, as needed

Step 5 – Get Draft Peer Reviewed: 30 Minutes

Total Time:

  1. Get it peer-reviewed with the TA Worksheet (PDF) (30 minutes)
    • Peer Reviewer: Look for evidence of each section of the document
    • Look for WHAT, WHY, HOW for each statement in the paper
      • There should be at least one WHY or HOW or every WHAT statement
    • Look for cited research to support statements, where it makes sense
    • Write comments to help the author
      • Add them as “Add Comments” on the side, so you do not add to the word count of the document

Step 6 – Revise: 1 Hour

Total Time:

  1. Revise your draft (1 hour)

Step 7 – Get Feedback from Mr. Le Duc and Revise: 30 Minutes

Total Time:

  1. Get feedback from Mr. Le Duc
  2. Make final revisions and check format (30 Minutes)

Step 8 – Finalize Paper and Cover Page: 15 Minutes

Total Time:

  1. Clear cover page with the Title of Film & Timecode (5-minute film extract)
  2. Sans serif 12 point font
  3. In-text citations
  4. Less than 1,750 words maximum

Step 9 – Finalize Bibliography and Check Format: 15 Minutes

Total Time:

  1. Update your TA Bibliography Google Doc (In Your IB Google Drive Folder)
    • Finish and check the format of your MLA sources as you research

Step 10 – Upload to Turnitin.com: 10 Minutes

Total Time:

  1. Upload your TA paper (from Your IB Google Drive Folder)
  2. Upload your TA Bibliography Google Doc (from Your IB Google Drive Folder)

Text Analysis Guide (For your 5 Minute Scene)


The extract may be up to five minutes in length and must be a single, continuous sequence of the film
Time of 5-minute clip 33:00-38:00

PART 1 –  The film, your scene, why it is of interest, and how your scene relates to the whole film.

It is the first task Ofelia has to do and it involves both the captain’s storyline and Ofelia’s storyline.

Brief Summary of Exposition

Writer, Director, Producer, studio, year released Main characters, conflict, identify the genre. Identify the aspect ratio.

Context of Extract in Film – briefly describe the scene

At what times does your scene occur, how it begins, and how it ends. Do not describe it further. The judges have seen the movie.

It starts with Ofelia crawling into a dying fig tree to retrieve a golden key. Integrated with this is the captain discovering a spot where the rebels had set up camp. The scene ends with Ofelia tricking the toad into eating the rocks and taking the key from the Toad.

The Rationale for Selection – relation to the entire movie

Why is it interesting and why does this scene best illustrate the themes of the whole movie?

This scene incorperates many of the important themes that the film has. It illustrates the theme of birth and maternity through the fig tree and the toad. It shows the captain’s ruthless pursuit of the  rebels. It illustrates the indirect killing of Ofelia’s mother by the captain.

PART 2 – Remember to integrate the Director’s intent with each of the following areas in this section


Script – Not just dialogue but in terms of being the spine of the story Explain how this scene advances the plot. How do the events of this scene clarify/complicate matters? How does this scene affect/cause future events? What new information is revealed or suggested about a character? Is there anything deliberately withheld? Anything unusual in the dialogue? Word choice? Delivery? Accents? Repetition? For Ofelia, she completes her first task to becoming the princess of the underworld. For the captain, he discovers the vial of anti-biotics that he uses to discover the doctor is a traitor helping the rebels. We also get to see the rebels for the first time. When Ofelia meets the toad, she introduces herself as princess Moanna, and says she is not afraid of it. However how she delivers the line suggests that she is. She asks the Toad if it is ashamed of living in the tree, eating bugs and getting fat. Similar to the upper class in the following dinner scene, not having to experience the burdens that the war brought on the people, instead being able to stay at their homes and avoid it.

Cinema Photography

a) Camerawork – describe shots in specific terms Shot size: ELS, LS (stage), full shot, MS, CU, ECU. Camera angles: bird’s eye, high angle, eye level, low angle or Dutch (oblique), camera movement: pan, tilt, dolly or tracking, handheld, Steadycam, or moving crane. Invisible V conspicuous. Are tracking shots motivated by character movement? LS – shows the clausterphobic scene, slow zoom in

Dolly shot transitions to Captain and horses (motivated by character movement)

CU – Captain’s hand, starts with a tilt, transitions to a pan

Cu – tracks the Captain’s hand picking up a paper bag

MCU – The captain is examining the antibiotics,  camera begins to rotate around the Captain

MS – Captain walks up a hill, the camera cuts pans in front of him

MS – Camera is behind the Captain, slow pan

MLS – Captain and two officers are somewhat small, almost looking down on them

CU – on captain’s upset face

MS – low angle shot, Captain still has power

Pan follows men out of the forest

Transition to behind rebel’s back (MS)

FS – Low angle shows the rebels  have power

MCU – pan follows Ofelia in cave, reveals bugs are still on her

MCU – show’s Ofelia’s concerned face, she is lost, slow zoom in on cave

Slight pan to reveal toad

Shot reverse shot with Ofelia and the Toad

CU – Ofelia drops the stones in mud

CU – Shows the bug in Ofelia’s hand

MCU show’s Ofelia gets an Idea

WS – Shows both Ofelia and dying toad

MCU – highlights the golden key

MCU shows Ofelia’s lip quivering, tracking reveals that her dress is not where she put it


b) Composition Open/closed composition, aspect ratio, rule of thirds, Kubrick single-point perspective.
c) Depth of Field Consider foreground, mid, ground, and background. Deep focus is associated with wide-angle lenses. Could be flat. Narrow ranges of focus may be the result of telephoto lenses. The captain and his to officers are small in frame, they have little power.

Mise-en-scene – The overall look and feel of a movie

a) Position of characters and objects Identify the dominant, does movement guide our focus, character proxemics patterns (intimate,  personal, social, and public distances). How does the director add meaning to these choices? Is one character encroaching on another’s space? Watch for space being used to portray relationships/changes in relationships. Watch for windows, doors, parallel lines that frame people or objects.  Entrapment. Look for actor placement. Front – actor facing camera, greatest intimacy. One-Quarter Turn – very popular. Profile – character lost in the moment, a bit more distant than the previous two. Three Quarters Turn – useful to convey anti, socialness, Back of Head, most anonymous shot.  Creates a mystery or feeling of alienation. When the captain shows up, only him and his officers get off their horses, the rest of the soldiers are not shown until they leave. The captain is dominant, he’s always the largest in frame. When he realizes the rebels are close by, he never looks directly at the camera, he doesn’t know where they are exactly. We even see from behind him, suggesting they could be surrounded.
b) Lighting Low or high key. How does the director use light to focus our attention? Key, fill, and backlighting. What is the source of lighting in the context of the scene? In the cave, it is oddly well lit with an almost golden light. This is most likely to add to the fairytale piece of the story. The scenes in the forest with the captain are naturally lit to bring the audience back to reality. When Ofelia leaves the cave, it is a dark blue, showing a cold snapping back to reality.
c) Color scheme How does the director use color and what is the director’s intent for doing so? Look for color symbolism or color associated with characters. Color to suggest a mood. Color as foreshadowing. Contrasting colors ( the monolith v white room) golden light in cave shows mysticism

Dark Blue when Ofelia leaves the cave – creates a cold feeling


d) Set/location/props Set design. Studio or on, location, describe props, scenery, what was the Director ́s intent for using them? How dense is visual information? Stark, moderate, or highly detailed? The Fig tree outside and in looks like a uterus, most likely representing the Ofelia’s mother and the child she’s carrying. The is being killed by what’s inside it similar to how Ofelia’s brother is killing her mom. The vial of antibiotics is crucial as it indicates that the doctor is involved with the rebels before it is revealed. It is the reason that he gets caught later in the film. The forest set in combination with the camera work meant to be confusing.
e) Costume, hair, make up Period, class, gender (emphasize or diminish), age-appropriate, silhouette (close-fitting or baggy), fabric (plain, sheer, rough, delicate), accessories. Color is very important in relation to character. Ofelia is dressed minimally, she is clean at the start and ends covered in mud and slime. The Captain and soldiers are dressed in dark colors. The rebels look poorer than the soldiers.
f) Acting/body language Acting style, body language, blocking, period, or contemporary. Individualized (Joker), Stylization. Look for subtext (character says one thing but means something else). Consider typecasting as a shortcut to characterization.

Sound – watch scene w/o picture

Live sound, sound effects, and music. Sound can be diegetic, meaning characters would hear it, or non, diegetic, meaning that characters would not hear it, such as narration or music over the credits. Explore the relationship between diegetic and non, diegetic sound when appropriate.


Is the music telling you what to feel?  Music can be used as a counterpoint to the action.


Ellipsis (time compression) and cross-cutting, fades, dissolves (fades between scenes), wipes,  matching cuts, straight cuts, dialogue overlap, and sound bridges. Consider how long each shot lasts.

Part 3: Analyzing the Film as a Product

Sociocultural Context

In what way was this movie a product of its time? What does the audience learn about the culture or historical context of the film?

Target Audience

Teens/adults or male/female age group, college education art crowd, liberal, conservative, Christian

Generic Expectations

http://www.filmsite.org/filmgenres.html also research  http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Tropes


Man V Man, or one of the others, is this film an allegory?


What specific devices support your definition of the theme? Look for recurring elements.

Film Criticism

Both contemporary and current. Use brief quotes from two different sources. Record the details:  reviewers’ names and publication names/dates


Compose Paper

Part 4: Sources

Source 1 https://theasc.com/ac_magazine/January2007/PansLabyrinth/page1.html
Source 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqDLB3JWfds
Source 3 http://widescreenjournal.org/index.php/journal/article/view/66/111
Source 4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbZNkMn3PvQ
Source 5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-G8pKiuG8Q
Source 6
Source 7
Source 8
Source 9
Source 10


Revision 1 Proofreader:
Revision 2 Proofreader:
Revision 3 Mr. Le Duc

External Assessment Criteria SL and HL

Peer Review Checklist

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