Monday, July 29, 2013

The Devil's Backbone (2001)

Near the end of the Spanish Civil War, a young boy (Fernando Tielve) is sent to stay in an orphanage in the middle of nowhere, where some rather spooky goings on are going on.

*      *      *

The first class I ever took in film school was titled: Intro to Visual Storytelling. Each week we would be given different vague prompts of increasing difficulty. The one rule that applied to all of these films was that we were not allowed to use any dialogue. We had to rely entirely on camera placement, camera movement, close-ups, cut-aways and reaction shots to tell our stories. We couldn't explain things away with clunky dialogue. Think this sounds easy? Trust me, it's not. This is why I love Guillermo del Toro. With him the visuals are never an afterthought. Sometimes they even predate the story. Thanks to his meticulous attention to color and design, you can watch a film like The Devil's Backbone with the sound off and follow the story completely. More so than Spanish or English, its clear that del Toro's primary language is that of cinema.

Why is Guillermo del Toro an important filmmaker?
Because in an industry content with See Spot Run, he insists on treating every film as though it were War and Peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment