In The Vision of Guillermo Del Toro’s Magical Realism and Universal Symbolism

Guillermo with his Golden Lion for his latest work “Shape of Water” at the Venice Film Festival. | Courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images.

* This piece contains spoilers on the endings of Del Toro’s 2006 work Pan’s Labyrinth, 2015 work Crimson Peak and 2017 work Shape of Water. 

My relationship with literature long before I knew how to read, with my mother taking at least half an hour of her night before my bedtime to read me stories. There was never a single night lacking the sound of turning pages and her raspy yet sweet voice; no matter how tired or sad she was, my mother would knock on my door exacly at nine thirthy, and we would spend our little quality time together until I fell asleep in her arms. And if there’s one reason that I became an avid reader, a maybe-future writer, a literature student: it is because of her, and her efforts.

This, of course, also meant that as I grew older and older, our libraries merged into one, too. Of course, there wwere my populist fantasy series — looking at you Harry Potter and Twilight —, which I would read even on my way to home from school while walking, and there were her thick, old looking books from Turkish novelists. Somewhere in the middle, just after I became a highschool  student and started one of the hardest periods of my teenage years, I started picking up books from her side of the shelves. Then came Paul Coelho and Isabel Allende, Camus and Christie, Le Guin and Kafka, but most important of them all, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He was the favorite writer of my mother, and he quickly became mine too.  His writing style, even when translated, had the power to carry me from my reality to another one; one that still seemed so close yet so far away, a purgatory between reality and dream. As I learned later later, this was called magical realism, a very popular type of fiction from Latin American literature that was known for its merging of fantasy elements with otherwise “normal” settings.

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How To Survive Award Season Without Really Trying

Saoirse Ronan and Greta Gerwig on set of ‘Lady Bird’. © A24

Oh the mighty Award Season! In the second half of every year, fans of cinema everywhere, long forgotten their sufferings in the first half, start to say: “I wish Award Season was here already!”. And then before we know it, it’s here! Oh no… Our favourites are losing. Everyone is angry at each other. Non-Americans are staying up all night to watch red carpets just to see their favourites for 5 seconds then to suffer through bad jokes in award shows themselves. And then before you know it 2-3 awards have passed, three weeks till next one. “We needed a break.” says the fans of cinema, oh no they forgot their suffering and ask “It’s been a week c’mon when’s the next one?!” and the circle of life keeps going until the Oscars. Everyone is exhausted by then, friendships are torn, predictions are off the roof! And then, whoever wins wins. Everyone goes to bed and sleeps off the season exhaustion for 14 hours, wakes up next morning saying: “Did I dream that or did Annette Benning’s husband actually announced Best Picture wrong?”

Well don’t worry, Much Ado is here to give you a little bit of help in this award season of surprises. Here are eight films from some of this season’s best nominees to help you pass the time and help with withdrawals!

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Films That Made Us Happy: The Shape of Water


When my turn came to write for “Films That Made Us Happy” series, I had only one film in my mind: The Shape of Water. It is not only my favourite film of the year (in a tie with Terence Davies’ A Quiet Passion) but it is also the one that made me feel a way that is impossible to explain with words – which is why I wrote five drafts of this piece, each one somehow more inadequate than the other to convey how I felt.

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Kinkiest Films of 2017

As Much Ado team, we always try our best to bring you reviews from newest films, coverages from festivals we can barely afford to go and well thought essays that take weeks to write. Right now, you’ll see everyone publishing their top films of 2017, which we plan to do after December 25th. But in the meantime, being the professional young adults we are, we decided to bring you a more important list: Kinkiest of 2017! We can assure you that this list took long discussions and as it happens with any group of mostly LGBT 20-somethings, we came up with a lot of them. But we decided, for our readers’ sake, to do just Top 5!

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BFI London Film Festival ’17 Review: ‘The Shape of Water’ is a conventional fairy-tale for adults

Guillermo Del Toro’s latest outing, ‘The Shape of Water’, has been a much-anticipated hit in various film circles, and has been described by many as his best since the career-defining ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’. Indeed, both films feature concepts that allow Del Toro to truly flex his aesthetic muscles, and the director has clearly been highly influenced once more by the darker realms of the fairy story. ‘The Shape of Water’ plays with many tropes of children’s fairy-tales, imbuing a well-trodden romantic plot with multiple new forays into the genre: a much more adult vision with regards to sex and violence, a mute female protagonist, wonderfully portrayed by Sally Hawkins, and the fact that the film’s love interest is…a fish. Indeed, much discussion around the film has revolved around this final element. Does Sally Hawkins actually have sex with the fish? How exactly does this work? Is this morally okay? Are we now attracted to fish people? Is social media going to start referring to the fish man as “Daddy”? Are we as a society prepared for this? Regardless of the answers to these questions, ‘The Shape of Water’ portrays a romance so sweet and odd that it’s difficult not to root for the gentle love between Eliza and her fish friend. However, in cultivating this romance, and the colourful, off-kilter world that the film takes place in, Del Toro neglects full development of virtually any other character.


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