Tag Archives: movies

The Shape of Water (2017, Guillermo Del Toro)

“Unable to perceive the shape of You,

I find You all around me.

Your presence fills my eyes with Your love,

It humbles my heart,

For You are everywhere”

The Oscar winner for best picture, Monster storyteller Guillermo del Toro’s latest movie The Shape of Water (see trailer) is an otherworldly tale about the unlikely bond between Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and an Amphibian Man (Doug Jones) who is captured in a high security lab during the Cold War era.

I was not too familiar with del Toro and his work–I did not even know who he was when I caught a glimpse of him in person shooting this movie in Hamilton. But this beautiful, imaginative, and playful story really captured me. The color of this movie is mostly blue-greenish, and there are many elements of water throughout. This visual arrangement echoes with the theme of the movie very well, and I can almost smell the seaweed and feel the damp air. I saw the movie twice in theater and enjoyed it both times. I noticed many pleasant details the second time, which added more depth to the story and the experience. Another highlight, in my opinion, is the amazing performance the actors carried out, especially Sally Hawkins as a mute woman. There are not a lot of characters in this movie but each of them are well developed and has distinct qualities which makes this more even more efficient in storytelling. There were many little moments that made me feel deeply connected with the characters.

See the source imageThe concept of this movie might seem odd in some ways, but ultimately, it is a universal story about loneliness, friendship, heartbreaks and love. There is also a novel by del Toro of the same title, released earlier this month.  In the book, the characters are developed further for those who would like to delve more deeply into the story.

 

More by del Toro:

Pan’s Labyrinth

Crimson Peak

Hellboy

Trollhunters

The Strain

The VVitch is my new horror fave

Cover image for The Witch: the silhouette of a person with long hair standing in a moonlit forestA little late to the party, I know, but I finally got around to watching Robert Eggers’ directorial debut, The VVitch (which I’m just going to be calling The Witch from here on out)! And it is very very good, slow-build horror.

The Witch takes place in 1630s New England, where a family is being banished from their Puritan community for theological differences. William, Katherine, and their four children set out alone to try to eke out a living in the wilderness. Katherine has a fifth child, but the baby is stolen, and ultimately the family descends ever deeper into a spiral of fear and suspicion (of the woods surrounding them, and eventually of each other as well).

The movie explores many complicated themes, including the effects of long-term isolation on the human psyche, the power of faith, and ultimately with the kinds of fear and paranoia that can result when people seek desperately to explain the hardships life throws at them. It’s a story that could have played out the same way regardless of whether there really is a witch out there in the woods, and for me that’s where the real horror lies (though I also loved the unabashedly uncivilized and otherwordly glimpses we get into the witching world!)

Better than fiction: Far Out Isn’t Far Enough

Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: the Tomi Ungerer story is a documentary about French illustrator Image result for Far Out Isn't Far Enough and writer Jean-Thomas “Tomi” Ungerer. He emigrated from France to the United States in his twenties, and experienced the Golden age of advertising illustrations in NYC. He then stepped into children’s book industry, later flourished in creating political posters. It provides an overview of his creative career is visually and intellectually stimulating. Ungerer’s personal experience put the audience in perspective of his work. For instance, Ungere’s children’s books often have elements of fear, this is due to his childhood experience. This film is true to the artist’s creative process, which is influenced very much by what’s around him. It is amazing to see his journey pursuing what he is interested in, and at the same time, pushing the public’s boundary on the image of a children’s book author–Ungerer was in the middle of the controversy when he did erotic illustrations while famously known as a children’s book author, his books were banned from public libraries at one point.

Ungerer seems very spirited even in his old age, passionate about life and art. The documentary highlights his playful personality. He is an important figure in the world of art and he inspired many artists, including the creator of Where the Wild Things are.

Image result for Far Out Isn't Far Enough

 

Books by Tomi Ungerer:

The Three Robbers

Fog Island

Oto (in Hebrew)

Crictor (in Italian)

 

If you like the Better than fiction posts, read another one here:

Better than fiction: Defiant Requiem