Guillermo del Toro is a master of film monsters, and he honored his cinematic creations during an emotional Best Director acceptance speech at Sunday night’s Golden Globes.
But backstage, reporter Julia Pierrepont of China’s Xinhua News Agency asked the “Shape of Water” director how he balances the darkness and terror in his often monster-filled films with “the joyful and loving person” that he is.
Del Toro’s response was simple: “I’m Mexican.”
Journalists laughed at and applauded the answer, but then the director masterfully broke down how being Mexican impacts his views on life and death.
“No one loves life more than we do, in a way, because we are so conscious about death,” he said. “So the preciousness of life, standing side by side the one place we’re all going to. Everybody in this planet boarded a train that was final destination: death. So the train, we’re going to live, we’re going to have beauty and love and freedom. And I think that when you eliminate one of the two sides from the equation, it’s a pamphlet. When you take into account the dark to tell the light, it’s reality.”
I think that when you eliminate one of the two sides from the equation, it’s a pamphlet. When you take into account the dark to tell the light, it’s reality."
The “Pan’s Labyrinth” director was equally poignant in his on-stage speech after accepting the Best Director award for “The Shape of Water,” which features an aquatic creature.
“Since childhood, I’ve been faithful to monsters,” he said during his speech. “I have been saved and absolved by them, because monsters I believe are patron saints of our blissful imperfection.”
“For 25 years I have handcrafted very strange little tales, made of motion, color, life and shadow. And in many of these instances — in three precise instances — these strange stories, these fables, have saved my life,” he said, referencing “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Shape of Water.”