"The Furniture" our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber
Pan’s Labyrinth, like most of Guillermo del Toro’s films, is busy with visual imagination. There are monsters and fairies, though it’s not always certain which is which. There are dramatic colors and haunted shadows, which push even the more terrestrial sequences toward the fantastical. And there are little flourishes, not all of them thanks to the digital effects team.
In fact, physicality is among the film’s greatest strengths. Sets were built for both Ofelia’s dream world and the all-too-real Spanish Civil War narrative that frames them. Del Toro doesn’t rely on either digital backgrounds or pre-existing locations. Instead, he leans on the uncanny power of tangible design, like these Harryhausen-like models that stand in for an underground kingdom.