del toro's favourite films
With his keen sense of the uncanny begetting such a colourful collection of characters, the question has to be asked - what sort of films does acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro himself like to watch?
Pale Man, Pan's Labyrinth
Possessing the vivid imagination of a master storyteller, del Toro has conjured up some of international cinema's most fantastical characters in recent years.
There's the mythical Greek faun (Pan's Labyrinth), the ghost of a murdered Spanish orphan (The Devil's Backbone), a mutated insect (Mimic) and a fiend conjured by Nazis experimenting with black magic (Hellboy).
Perhaps the 'spookiest' of all is the Pale Man (Pan's Labyrinth): a Goya-inspired, child-devouring demon, whose face has holes where his eyes should be and eyeballs in the stigmata in the palm of his hands.
Intrigued by his influences, ACMI Curator Roberta Ciabarra asked del Toro to name some of his personal cinematic favourites, as contenders to present alongside his own work in the Focus on Guillermo del Toro season.
The result is an amazingly diverse list of films that range from the Spanish masterpiece Spirit of the Beehive, to George Miller's Mad Max 2 (aka The Road Warrior), to Terry Gilliam's manic comedic fantasy Time Bandits.
Many have previously screened at ACMI in recent years: in festivals such as La Mirada, Hola Mexico and the German Film Festival; in other Focus On seasons; and in regular programs like Melbourne Cinémathèque and Freaky Fridays.
With this in mind, the screening prospects were narrowed to three films.
Ciabarra selected The Night of the Hunter (1955), the classic thriller starring Robert Mitchum, to screen in the season along with two rarities.
George A. Romero's Martin (1977) is an "is he or isn't he?" tale about a young man who might be a vampire.
Mario Bava's Black Sunday (aka The Mask of Satan) (1960) is a spookily atmospheric tale about an evil, 'resurrected-from-the-grave' 17th-century witch on a quest for revenge.
Black Sunday is considered by many to be the reigning masterpiece of Italian horror cinema.
Del Toro "is not just a filmmaker; he's a film watcher", says specialist creature-actor Doug Jones, who played the roles of the Pale Man and Pan in Pan's Labyrinth.
"He's a fanboy first, and he only makes movies he really wants to watch, and he has excellent taste."
View the list of Guillermo del Toro's favourite films here
Published Friday, 30 March 2007