Guillermo del Toro is an Academy-award Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer, and novelist. Del Toro has moved easily between Spanish-language dark fantasy, with gothic horror films The Devil’s Backbone (2001) and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), to mainstream Hollywood action films, such as Blade II (2002), to superhero films Hellboy (2004), its sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), and the sci-fi with Pacific Rim (2013).
The Shape Of Water received rave reviews and won the Golden Lion at the 74th Venice International Film Festival as well as the Academy Award for Best Picture. Del Toro also received an Oscar for Best Director for the film, as well as the Golden Globe Award, BAFTA Award, Critics’ Choice Award, and Directors Guild Award.
Del Toro’s work brings a strong connection to fairy tales and horror, with an infusion of poetic beauty. He has had a lifelong fascination with monsters, which he considers symbols of great power.
The Shape Of Water is a Cold War- era romantic fairy tale that serves as a reflection of the current political climate. Del Toro:
“It’s like a cancer. We have a tumor now. That doesn’t mean the cancer started with that tumor. It was gestating for so long.”
The Shape Of Water, stars Oscar-nominee Sally Hawkins as a mute cleaning woman who falls in love with a water creature being held captive by the U.S. government.
“The idea of the movie is to say, 1962 is the time that Americans go back in their imagination, when they say let’s ‘Make America Great Again’. If you were white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant, it was a great time to be alive. If you were not, if you were anything else, it was not.”
Now the USA has returned to political uncertainty and an age of anxiety. Of the anti-immigration climate, Del Toro has stated:
“The pendulum swung back 30 years in the last year and a half. It’s very, very troublesome that so many horrible things can be manifest. For most people, this thing started two years ago. But if you’re Mexican, and you crossed the border, they never really went away. They’ve been latent all this time.The idea is to say, that was then, and this now, and I do hope that the world lasts long enough that we can start repairing it again.”
He has pointed out that the villains in most of his films; industrialists in Cronos (1993), Nazis in Hellboy, and the Fascists in Pan’s Labyrinth, all share the attribute of authoritarianism. Del Toro:
“I hate structure. I’m completely anti-structural in terms of believing in institutions. I hate them. I hate any institutionalized social, religious, or economic holding.”