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Both Spirited Away and Pan(TM)s Labyrinth represent the traditional family unit as an important part of a child(TM)s life. How do the two films convey these messages to the audience?

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Introduction

Coursework Assignment 2 Both Spirited Away and Pan's Labyrinth represent the traditional family unit as an important part of a child's life. How do the two films convey these messages to the audience? Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away (2001, Japan) and Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth (2006, Spain) are both feature length films which delve into the journey of a young female character experiencing their own personal journeys to achieve different goals. This is achieved by the aid of supporting characters who take on the roles of those in a traditional family. This may include a mother, father, siblings and others. The traditional family unit in Spirited Away is absolutely essential to the development of the piece. Chihiro, the main protagonist, throughout the film is on a journey to maturity. At the start, she is represented as a very na�ve and insignificant person. For example, towards the start of the film we see a low-angle shot from behind Chihiro, looking up at the bathhouse. Just this camera shot already suggests to the audience that the director is portraying her in a stereotypically childlike light; she is wandering into the unknown with a complete lack of self-awareness. In contrast, towards the end of the film, we see Chihiro reach a new level of maturity. If we look at how she reacts to her parents driving her away from her home, friends, and everything that she had become accustomed to; she complains about it, and generally acts childish in her actions, for example when we see her ...read more.

Middle

We see this several times, for example when Chihiro notices Haku, as a dragon, flying into a window of the bath house, in a bloody state. Chihiro is desperate to try and help Haku, and chases him up to Yubaba's room to do this. The significance of this, is that due to these romantic or otherwise feelings, Chihiro was shown by Haku how to care for someone at the start of the film, and in the example given, she mirrors Haku in this, giving direct evidence to suggest that Haku, interpreted as a family figure or not, is still a massive influence in Chihiro's personal development. So the ideology of this film seems to, certainly, be that a strong family unit is absolutely vital for the development of a child. In Pan's Labyrinth, our central character is the young Ofelia, and we are straight away shown a typical parent-child situation with her mother Carmen in the backseat of a car; Carmen is telling Ofelia that she is too old for books and fairy tales. We can suggest that probably the most prominent development in Ofelia's character, throughout the film, is how she becomes notably more courageous, in a rebellious manner. This is not necessarily to say that Ofelia doesn't demonstrate courage and self-determination towards the beginning of the film, for example, she independently wanders off into the labyrinth to find Pan the faun quite early on the piece. ...read more.

Conclusion

Relating back to the question, if we remember that the only missing member of Ofelia's family unit is a father, Pan could well be Ofelia's attempt at completing this broken family unit through her imagination. If we then look at what this suggests about the ideology of Pan's Labyrinth, it seems to me that it could suggest the same as Spirited Away but also, when taken out of the comfort zone of a strong family unit, it can actually force a child to mature in a greater way than with one. Through close analysis of both films, it has become clear that children crave the stability that the traditional family unit provides. They also thrive in it. Both central female characters in each film, undoubtedly piece together some kind of family in whatever way they can, in the absence of their actual family members. However it has also become apparent that people around characters who lack stability, are without question, drawn to filling those roles. When looking at the evidence given for each character explored in the two products, it would be a huge understatement to say that each member of the traditional family unit doesn't have a massive impact on the central protagonist. The two films convey the messages of family importance in such a way that without the supporting family characters whose roles are taken on within each piece, the actions and development of both Ofelia and Chihiro in their respective films would both be completely different without the presence of these characters. ?? ?? ?? ?? Joshua Zar� 10A/10Sf ...read more.

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