Book Review: Guillmero del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth – Inside the Creation of a Modern Fairy Tale (Titan Books)

It’s hard to believe it has been 10 years since Guillermo del Toro’s unique, visionary Pan’s Labyrinth and this week sees the release of Titan Books’ extensive ‘Inside the Creation of a Modern Fairy Tale’ by Mark Cotta Vaz and Nick Munziata which takes a very smart look inside the film-making process.

For both film lovers and admirers of del Toro’s work this ‘coffee table’ style book is an absolute treasure trove of information. After an interesting foreword from the director, the book delves right into the history of Guillermo’s background, upbringing and influence. We learn very early on that as well as being biographical, Pan’s Labyrinth was such a part of who Guillmero is and how he put every ounce of his creativity into achieving the film with a very specific vision.


Any film lover or fan will find a lavish collection that includes original concept art, photography from the set, removable ‘art in progress’ pieces such as storyboards and pages from del Toro’s very own notebooks, and so much more. All these elements come together to offer up a wealth of insight into all aspects of the movie from the fantasy to the reality. Also, when you bear in mind the visually alluring fantasy-fairy-tale elements of the movie, the Spanish Civil War attachment can often be overlooked by the casual viewer when, in truth, it’s reflected on both sides of the story and here we get a much more in-depth look into that side. It’s noted that the military skirmishes involved are less notable but this is mainly because there’s little history recorded about what happened under Franco’s rule. We learn that his role of repression is important as the portrayal of the monster within changes throughout the narrative and becomes visually noticeable as the story progresses. This kind of insight can genuinely change the perspective with every time you watch a special film.

Although difficult to pick out a specific recommended section, and actually wanting to avoid cliché, there really is something for every aspect of the filmmaking process. Not only does it feature interviews with del Toro, we also hear from stars Ivana Baquero, Sergi Lopez, Maribel Verdu and the ever-changeable Doug Jones plus Alfonso Cuaron, Bertha Navarro and director of photography Guillmero Navarro. Author Mark Cotta Vaz has come up with another sterling title with far-reaching research that’s revealed strikingly throughout the publication.


Inside the Creation of a Modern Fairy Tale may hold a huge slice of information but as Del Toro points out, it’s important to remember that the Labyrinth isn’t about getting lost, it’s about finding your way and this book is an exemplary display of extensive analysis as it takes us along on the journey both in front and behind the camera. It truly is tremendous work.

Guillmero del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth: Inside the Creation of a Modern Fairy Tale is available to purchase from Titan Books on October 21st. You can also order it on Amazon here.


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