Visual Echoing

Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro talks about a technique of visual echoing in his DVD Commentary for Pan’s Labyrinth. The film portrays two distinct worlds, a real world and a fantasy world that merge throughout the picture. At various points in film, del Toro uses very specific images so that each world mirrors or echoes the other in some way. Gradually the worlds merge.

If you watch all of del Toro’s films, you can even see how images echo across different films as well. Although perhaps less deliberate on some levels, many of the films contain images of a fetus, a labyrinth, winged creatures, clockwork devices, and so on.

This, of course, is a something that can be seen and used in a variety of art forms from painting to music to literature. The elements repeated can be images, colors, sounds, relationships, metaphors, whatever. This echoing effect, whether consciously perceived or not, creates a texture rich in meaning.

Take a look at what you’re reading, or watching, and listen for the echoes.