Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.
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.
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.
Divide the class into small groups. In their groups, students will select one person to be the interviewer, and everyone else will act as characters from Pan's Labyrinth. The students will work together to design a skit in which the interviewer conducts an interview of each of the characters, asking them about their motivations, experiences, and role throughout this story. The interviewer could make this a sort of news-media report or a red carpet interview, or something else. Let the groups have freedom to write their skits. Give them a chance to practice and then ask them to present to the class.
Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican filmmaker, so students can celebrate his movie through Mexican folk art. Show students examples of papel picado, and show how to trace a design onto the tissue paper and cut it out using a chisel or precision knife. Students will then design three pieces of papel picado, each after a different moment from Pan's Labyrinth. Ask students to select three moments that together reveal major points in the film's arc and plot. Give students time to make their papeles picados and then hang them up around the classroom.
- Materials: Colored tissue paper (or colored scrapbooking paper), precision craft knives or chisels, rulers/straight-edge tools
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