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Thursday February 29th 2024

Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto Del Fauno) | 2006

Pan's Labyrinth location: Guadarrama Mountains, Spain
Pan's Labyrinth location: the farmhouse where Ofelia encounters the Faun: San Rafael, Guadarrama Mountains, Spain | Photograph: wikimedia / Miguel303xm

Not really anything to do with Pan (the title translates simply as The Faun’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning film dazzlingly shifts between an elaborate fantasy world and the brutal realities of Forties Spain under the Franco regime.

Set in ‘Navarra’ after the end of the Spanish Civil War, the remaining Republican rebels hide out in the picturesque Scots Pine forests of the mountainous Sierra De Guadarrama region northwest of Madrid.

The old mill, where ten-year-old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) escapes from the world of her fascist stepfather Captain Vidal (Sergi López) into the realm of the ambiguous faun (Doug Jones, who also plays the scary Pale Man), was a set built to the very detailed designs of del Toro near the village of San Rafael. The village stands on the AP-6, about 35 miles from Madrid, and the meadow where the mill stood is in a clearing about a mile to the southeast.

Pan's Labyrinth location: Belchite, Spain
Pan’s Labyrinth location: the ruined town: Belchite, Spain | Photograph: wikimedia / kurtxio

The ruined city of the opening scene is the old town of Belchite, once home to 4,500 people, and boasting an eclectic mix of Baroque and Gothic architecture. It was destroyed in 1937 during the Civil War, and has remained deserted and unrestored ever since, while a new town has grown up nearby. You can visit the site, though it’s not maintained and you should be aware of falling masonry, to the south of the modern town of Belchite, on the A-222 about 40 miles south of Zaragoza in Aragon, northeast Spain.

Belchite’s ruins were previously seen in Terry Gilliam’s elaborate 1989 fantasy The Adventures Of Baron Münchhausen and, more recently, became the destroyed 'Mexican' town in the prologue to Spider-Man: Far From Home.