Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. Everyone’s invited.
Inclusive versus Exclusive
Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” won Best Picture and Best Director at the 90th Academy Award this year. I truly believe it was deserved. Although tackling some extremely serious subjects, del Toro’s fairy tale approach allowed me to immerse myself freely in today’s reality through magic. Del Toro’s use of fantastical worlds allows personal interpretation of his ideas; an approach based on invitation versus invasion. In a society where we are constantly and forcefully bombarded with strong opinionated media, I found an open ended fairy tale to be the most approachable commentary on our world’s reality today.
A fairy tale is for everyone
Today’s topics on inequality in race, sex and status are so constantly pounded into our heads that there is often a feeling of helplessness which, can be followed by feelings of rejection and shut down. By aggressively addressing the differences there seems to be a push towards exclusivity instead of inclusiveness, which in turn only causes a larger inequality gap. The Shape of Water does an extraordinary job at addressing some very serious issues in today’s society without feeling like a personal attack. Just like old fairy tales, this is a story for anyone and everyone. The tale is not catered to a specific group of individuals which, in my opinion is the only way to tackle inequality.
“A Director doesn’t dictate; a Director interprets“
I watched the film twice. The second time, a good friend took me to Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, screening on February 22nd at the Landmark Theater on Pico (LA). It was wonderful to see the film again, this time in the presence to the Director and Writers. Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor lead a fun and warm Q&A after the screening.
Guillermo speaks of his role as a Director and reminds the audience that “a director doesn’t dictate; a director interprets”. This was a phrase that really stood out to me. Dictating people into a way of thinking has never and will never have a successful effect. Again, the topic of inclusiveness versus exclusiveness. This is a thought process that rings true in so many aspects of our lives. Invading someone’s mindset versus inviting them for a stroll in your brain can have an immeasurable different outcome.
I managed to stop del Toro for a quick snapshot. As a “thank you”, I gave him a book about Russian fairy tales.
The Shape of Water definitely had an impact on me. It was gorgeous, the story was sweet but, what did it for me was the open ended magic. The need for every viewer’s opinion to complete a story. In a time of exclusive social movements, I felt included in something with everyone.
Guillermo, thank you for keeping fairy tales alive.