Essential viewing if you want to get to know the movie world’s maestro of monsters
You never forget your first Guillermo del Toro film.
Apart from thoughtfully crafted plots and characters that beautifully unravel before you, del Toro has a way of making viewers fall in love with macabre surrealism, a genre that isn’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea. Either way, the Mexican screenwriter, film director and producer knows how to move an audience. And he achieves this using an unsuspecting, quite unusual instrument: a monster, a ghost or some ghastly element.
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“Guillermo del Toro believes that we need monsters,” says Jim Shedden, co-curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where an exhibit dedicated to del Toro is currently up and running. “To him, the imperfections of monsters are found in all of us, whether we see them or not. At the same time, despite his empathy for the tragic monster, del Toro is fascinated with truly terrifying and invulnerable monsters. By witnessing his incredible creative process, we can make unexpected connections among different genres and narratives, high art and pop culture, and blur boundaries between fantasy and reality.”
“Guillermo del Toro: At Home With Monsters” is a collaborative effort by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Art Gallery of Ontario, which allows fans to look into the filmmaker’s imagination “beginning with visions of death and the afterlife; continuing through explorations of magic, occultism, horror, and monsters; and concluding with representations of innocence and redemption.”
“It’s not a collection in the sense a church is not a collection of images or icons,” explained del Toro. “To me, it has a spiritual calling. I love monsters the way people worship holy images. To me, they really connect in a very fundamental way to my identity.”
The last leg of #AtHomeWithMonsters kicked off on September 30th (just in time for the filmmaker’s 52nd birthday) and will run through the rest of the year; it closes on January 7, 2018.
via @ArtSafarov on Twitter
For years—and one cinematic masterpiece after another—del Toro has made this distinct brand of fantasy his own. As much as we’d like to fly out to Canada to be able to walk through the reimagined Bleak House of del Toro, we’ll help ourselves to a del Toro movie marathon instead. Keep scrolling for 5 of Guillermo del Toro’s most fantastically beautiful films.
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Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Pacific Rim (2013)
The sequel entitled Pacific Rim Uprising may feature a new cast and a new director, Steven S. DeKnight, but del Toro remains essential to the product:
“Following in Guillermo’s footsteps was daunting,” DeKnight told Polygon at the New York Comic Con. “I’ve been a huge fan of his since his first movie Cronos, followed his career and seen everything he’s done. Before he got busy on The Shape of Water we had many conversations and he was fantastic. From the very start he said, ‘Look, I’ll be there whenever you need me, but I’m going to stay out of your hair. I want you to make it yours.’”
You can stream the 2013 sci-fi adventure Pacific Rim on Netflix.
Crimson Peak (2015)
The Devil’s Backbone (2001)
There’s a lot more from Guillermo del Toro to look forward to in the next couple of years: there’s The Shape of Water premiering later this year, Carnival Row in 2019 and the elusive remake of Pinocchio.