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Pan's Labyrinth Spanish Class Activities

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

''Pan's Labyrinth'' is not only a compelling story, but also a great introduction to magical realism and Spanish-language film. These activities can help your students explore themes of the film while building language skills.

Pan's Labyrinth

Pan's Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno) is a 2006 Spanish-language film by Mexican director and screenwriter Guillermo del Toro. Set in Francoist Spain, the story follows a young girl on her journey into a fantastical but dark world of magic. Weaving together her struggle with the attempts of the oppressive government to destroy the rebellion, the story is dramatic and tragic in a cinematic expression of Latin/Hispanic magical realism. These activities are designed for students in a Spanish-language course who have just completed a viewing of Pan's Labyrinth, but can be easily adjusted for various levels of fluency and experience.

Pan's Labyrinth Spanish Activities

Act Out A Scene

For this activity, break students into small groups and assign each group a scene from the movie. Provide students with a script of their scene. In their groups, students will practice their scene with the goal of presenting it in a dramatic performance. This will encourage them to practice not only reading and speaking but also diction, emphasis, intonation, conversational pacing, and drawing the meaning and emotions out of words. You may ask students to attempt to memorize their scripts as well, although it is not necessary. Once students have had time to practice, ask each group to present their scene.

  • Materials: Copies of scripts for several scenes from Pan's Labyrinth.

Writing Activities

After having seen the movie Pan's Labyrinth, students will conduct an independent writing assignment that will let them engage with the themes and characters of the film. Students should be asked to complete their writing activities in Spanish. Below are three options for writing prompts:

  • Narrative Writing: Students will select one scene from the film and will write it out as a narrative, rather than a script. This narrative should include the dialogue, action, and emotional tone of the scene.
  • Write A Sequel: Students will write a short story (in Spanish) that serves as a sequel to Pan's Labyrinth and focuses on the baby brother growing up and discovering the world of magic around him. Ask students to consider the plot and tone of the film when writing their sequel.
  • First Person: Students will re-write a scene from the film in the first person, from the perspective of one of the characters. Students should consider who this character is, what they want, how they feel, and their role in the overall narrative.

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