• Name: The Shape of Water
• Year: 2017
• Country: USA
• Director: Guillermo del Toro
• Main cast: Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon
• Runtime: 110 minutes
• Production company: Bull Productions, Double Dare You (DDY), Fox Searchlight Pictures
I guess it’s a bit risky to say I’ve seen the best film on the first day of the festival. But even without tagging or ranking, The Shape of Water (2017) is one of the films of this year. Indisputably.
The inaugural day, on the 50th Anniversary of the Sitges Film Festival, we all wait expectantly for director and writer Guillermo del Toro to appear. When he comes to the stage, he seems moved. He talks with passion and nostalgy, remembering how he used to sit there, among the audience, at that same old theater called “El Retiro”, which becomes once a year the meeting point for all the fantasy and horror cinema fans. From all over the world, we gather ourselves in Sitges to laugh and scream together, finding colleagues, discovering films, and feeding our dreams. He was one of them, many years ago and with a few pounds less – he laughs. He must have dreamed a lot, Guillermo. And he has come a long way, to present today The Shape of Water; and I don’t mean just physically, but also to become the director of such a mature, complete work of art.
The grand host of this 50th anniversary, confessing we’re about to watch his best movie, gifts us with 2 hours of an unforgettable adventure in the form of an unconventional love story. With the imagination that characterizes him, Del Toro uses the background of the American 60s, during the Cold War, and combines the nostalgic look of the poor working class with the world of scientific research, conducted and financed by a government with fear of losing the race against the Soviet Union. The set, full of tension and conspiracies, is an exquisite background built to the smallest detail. Printed in those old brown and sepia shades, paced with jazzy music of the time, assorted with original and futuristic machinery touches, and with a lot of homages to classic films and artists, it becomes unique, captivating and a perfect surrounding for a fairy tale to take place.
Del Toro has measured every bit of the story, every frame, the pictures are just beautiful, the rhythm is simply natural and lets you flow into it as your heart begins to race. The characters, imperfectly human, were almost all wrote with the actors in mind, and are wonderfully played by Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon and Sally Hawkins, taking the leading role and nailing it. The script is so solid, you truly believe in the connection between the characters. Love is palpable and real, you can feel it. And that is something magic very hard to find in movies.
Before leaving the cinema, Guillermo del Toro talked about the importance of love and tolerance, even more in the hard times we’re living in. Susan Sarandon, in one of her appearances during the festival, and after praising the movie, said: “Imagination is the enemy of fascism”; a message present all along the film, some wise words that we better not forget.
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5580390
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