The Force at work / La Force en action

The Force at work / La Force en action
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Sunday, July 17, 2016

GUILLERMO DEL TORO @ FANTASIA

Guillermo del Toro @ press conference July 15 2016 Fantasia Festival. Photo © Lena Ghio, 2016
Most of us know Guillermo del Toro because of the spectacular creatures he brings to life in his legendary movies. One of my favorites is the creature above right from the movie Pan's Labyrinth. I have never seen anything like this being and it blew my mind. As it turns out, del Toro writes, sculpts, paints, and repairs the monster figures he has created for his movies relentlessly.

We were very excited to exchange a words with the artist.

The first item to be discussed was how he felt when certain directors who did not understand his work actually massacred the movie. To my great surprise I found out that movie exects are not that keen on horror flicks, that they are denigrated by studio heads. I did a search and found that his project involving James Cameron and Tom Cruise, 'At The Mountains of Madness', an adaptation from the book of the same name written by H.P. Lovecraft, was dumped when It didn’t fit into the algorithm of what they knew they could spend and make money back on based on not offending their standard genre audience.”a phrase used by Cari Fukunaga when one of his projects, It written by Stephen King, was rejected by big studios. I found it even more remarkable because around the world there is such discussion about Artificial Intelligence and this is one of the prime examples of what AI means in our time. The truth is that this model of AI doesn't take into account that humans can love something they would never have thought they would have loved. So we, the lovers of complex horror movies made with intelligence and creativity, are denied an original product because men with money and power listen to a robot! FASCINATING! 

The artist revealed his intense passion for his work and film making by supporting emerging film makers. He prefers to leave production up to them so he can focus on other elements of the movie. He told us every movie must be an object of love because it cost him a lot of time away from his family when he is involved in a project. He is an intriguing mix of pure intuition and will power applied to get pragmatic results from his extraordinary inspirations. He loves the monster who brings out his empathy for those of us who are outsiders. Although it was his first visit to Fantasia he confessed: «Fantasia is not about cache, prestige, it is about worship for the fantasy genre of cinema. Fantasia offers us a shrine where we come to worship.»  

I was curious about whether he grew up knowing his monsters. «As a boy, I was in a jar. I did not have many friends. I was very thin, I remedied that now. My shirt was well buttoned down. I would read horror books in English with a English/Spanish dictionary and that is how I taught myself English. I believed in my monsters. I grew up in Mexico and there it's not magical realism, it is real magic. I am not a normal person. I grew up feeling the alienation of the monster and I accept that I am a deranged creature. When I looked at horror movies with Frankenstein or the Gillman, I wanted the villagers or the scientists to die. I never wanted the creature to die.»

One of his favorite films by him is the recent success Pacific Rim. He is currently working on two very intriguing titles: The Shape of Water and Pinocchio, a version closer to the original The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi than recent milder versions of the fairy tale. Finally he told us of his excruciating pain when his projects were cancelled or abandoned. «It feels like a miscarriage, a bloody miscarriage with thick bloody placenta dripping pain.»

This coming August, an exhibition of del Toro's most famous creations will open in Los Angeles. There will be an exhibition catalog signing session @LACMA on July 29th for  the exhibition Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters.

This was just the first week-end. Sadly some great titles will not be seen in Montreal for another while including Creature Designers: The Frankenstein Complex. But follow the link to check out some upcoming titles. I will put on a list of some of my choices for this week soon.

-LENA GHIO

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