52. Guillermo Del Toro
GUILLERMO DEL TORO
PAN’S LABYRINTH, HELLBOY, CRONOS, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE
Perhaps the biggest compliment you can pay a film director is to say that his or her work is identifiable by a single frame of one of their films. Del Toro’s frame, I imagine, would look something like this: a thin, grotesque fantasy creature seen in medium close-up, possibly wet or otherwise shiny/glossy; baroque chiaroscuro lighting highlighted by rich, dark colors and chunky textures; and a surrounding set comprised of either 1) billowing tapestries, 2) intricate carved wood or stone, or 3) some kind of dank sewer or catacomb. Del Toro creates fairy tale worlds scaled back to their rawest folklore origins juxtaposed against an equally uncanny version of reality. In films like The Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Hellboy, the Mexican wunderkind uses his considerable skills as a craftsman to create a vision of the waking world as seen through the eyes of a particularly unwell child. Bad for the child, I suppose, but good for us.
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