By Mildred Collins:
On January 7, Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer and novelist Guillermo del Toro won his first ever Golden Globe for ‘Best Director’ for his most recent film: The Shape of Water.
Originally born and raised in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico, del Toro held an early interest in filmmaking and monster stories. He achieved his first success with his original film Cronos (1993) won a total of nine academy awards in Mexico and went on to win the International Critics Week prize at Cannes.
Despite being raised in a predominantly Catholic household, Guillermo has always had a fascination with monsters since he was a child. In his acceptance speech, Guillermo stated that: “Since childhood I’ve been faithful to monsters — I have been saved and absolved by them. Because monsters, I believe, are patron saints of our blissful imperfection.” In a genre where monsters were portrayed as inhuman, evil and destined to die, Guillermo flips the script. He portrays monsters in a new light, as sympathetic beings who are at the mercy of the evil humans, which may have contributed to the success of The Shape of Water.
You can read more on Guillermo’s take on monsters here.
His latest movie is the latest in a long line of Guillermo’s alternative take on monster movies. Taking place in 1962 Baltimore, the movies tells the tale of Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute woman who falls in love with a fish-man creature (Doug Jones). She resolves to rescue him with the help of her black friend Zelda (Olivia Spencer) and her gay neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins). Taking place during a time when these ‘outcasts’ would be ignored or shunned by society, the film explores the concepts of love, discrimination and friendship. In another flip on the traditional monster movie trope, it is the white male Colonel Strickland (Michael Shannon) who would normally be the hero of such a story, who is the primary antagonist. This has proven to be extremely popular, earning both praise from critics and several other awards and nominations.
With his unique storytelling and visual representations, Guillermo seems to have clearly distinguished himself in the movie world even before now. Fans are already looking forward to his next work. Each of his movies are beautiful and different from each other in many ways, but one thing is for certain: These movies truly make you wonder who the real monsters are.