Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mexico & Film: Inarritu's Golden Globe, Interview w. Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) @ Filter-Mag

Watching Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu accept this award was awesome. Not because the right movie won. But because it was the moment that the Mexican film industry finally got its due on a national stage. Inarritu kicks it off with a great shot at Ahnold, credits everyone that helped him and then uses it as an opportunity to inform the world about the Mexican film industry, from which three of the best movies this past year were born: Cuaron's Children of Men, del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth and Inarritu's Babel. Martin Scorcese can take note at the hunger and epic storytelling that fuels these films. It is the same hunger and vision he delivered in Mean Streets and GoodFellas, but failed to find in Gangs of New York, The Aviator, and The Departed. Scorcese will walk away with the Oscar this year, but it is, in essence, a lifetime achievement award. It will take years for the Oscars to catch up to the Golden Globes in terms of being close to the pulse of cinema, but it was at least special to see Inarritu giving Mexico its due on national television.
Filter-Mag has an interview with Guillermo del Toro that ran in the Holiday edition of its magazine:

Q: There seems to be an aesthetic separation between your Spanish-language films and your English studio films. Is that a division that you like having?

A: I'm sort of playing it as I go, because I have not yet found a position in the studio system that allows me the freedom of something like Pan's Labyrinth. Look, if I had absolute freedom, I would do [H.P. Lovecraft's] Mountains of Madness tomorrow. But I would do it for the budget that it needs to be done, which is $80 or $85 million. I am not in that position, but hopefully one day I will be. I think Mountains is a deeply disturbing view.

But I believe that the taste of the audience is about the tale you're telling as much as how it's marketed. For example, if anybody walks into Pan's--and there may be many misguided souls who do this--expecting to find Harry Potter or another magical tale like Jim Henson's Dark Crystal, then they're going to come out of there fuming and with a fucking aneurysm. But if you market it properly and you say, "This is a war movie and a parable about brutality and innocence..." and you really juxtapose the war and the fantasy... I'm not saying it's easy, but at least people will know what to expect. As it is, most of the time, big budget marketing doesn't take those leaps. [More]

Next to the 15 minute continuous shot in Children of Men during which Clive Owen dodges bullets and runs building to building in a war zone, the following scene in Babel was the most mesmerizing piece of cinema I saw all year. The actress playing Chieko, the deaf girl with a purple shirt, is Rinko Kikuchi. She is up for an Oscar. At least they got something right. If you remember, she blew me away.


Felo said...

pans labyrinth isnt mexican, its a spanish film. just thought you might wanna change that

InMyTree said...

Guillermo del Toro, the director of Pan's Labyrinth, was born and raised in Mexico. Alfonso Cuaron the producer of Pan's Labyrinth was born and raised in Mexico. He studied filmmaking at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Esperanto Films, which was created by Cuaron, was one of the film production/distribution companies behind Pan's Labyrinth and is based in Mexico City.

Additionally, at what point do I call it mexican? I state that the three movies are products of the Mexican film industry because they are. At the least they are all products of Mexican directors: Cuaron, Inarritu, and del Toro.

I am fully aware of the fact that the movie in question takes place in post-Civil war Spain. But that doesn't change the fact that del Toro, Cuaron and Inarritu are all from Mexico. And brilliant.

InMyTree said...

Guillermo del Toro, who we established, is Mexican, wrote the screenplay in addition to directing it and producing it.

The film is Mexico's entry to the Academy Awards, in the category of Best Film in a Foreign Language.

InMyTree said...

I'll assume that the silence means that I am right. And Felo is wrong.