This scene is a turning point that comes towards the end of the story, bringing into question the reliability of Ofelia’s perception and giving the audience an active, deciphering role: Are the events we see created by her imagination or are they real? Ultimately, the juxtaposition of various dualisms contributes to the film’s dark-fairy-tale genre. The fear in Ofelia’s eyes, the destruction of her root, the agonising screams, all portray a struggle and a losing battle. The fantasy-world is literally interrupted and attacked in this clip, where we are reminded that Ofelia is at an age where she is becoming a woman and that she must come to see the reality of the world she lives in.
The destruction of the root is symbolic; roots signify stability and vitality and their destruction is usually catastrophic and death is almost inevitable. Death is an underlying theme throughout the film and the cut to the scene with the doctor and the prisoner reminds the viewer that the story is surrounded by death and suffering. Although we could argue the fantasy-world is a coping mechanism projected by Ofelia, there are indications that it is real. It could be that the fantastical elements are real and that Ofelia is special. Timing plays a huge roll in the deciphering of this story and this clip; can such events in literature and film be coincidental?