Guadalajara-born Guillermo del Toro – a member of that triumviate of Mexican film directors that has stunned the globe in recent years by soaring above the predictable artistic niches of movie industries both north and south of the border – has put another jewel in the corona of the “Tres Amigos.”
On Sunday, Del Toro took Best Director in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globes ceremony for “The Shape of Water,” originally conceived as a remake of “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954). In doing so, the director, who has not lived in his home city in two decades, added his fantastic, poignant, poetic thriller to an astonishing list of must-see works created by himself and his compadres Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón, who, along with Mexican cinematographers such as Emmanuel Lubezki, have become an ad hoc cinematic cartel, with far more salutary results than better-known gangs. (In 2006, each of the three came out with films that thrilled critics: Gonzalez Iñárritu did “Babel,” Cuarón did “Children of Men” and del Toro “Pan’s Labyrinth.” Gonzalez Iñárritu went on to more acclaim for “Birdman,” Cuarón for “Gravity” and del Toro for “Pacific Rim,” advising and assisting each other along the way.)
“The Shape of Water,” to be released in Guadalajara Friday, January 12, had already racked up over 40 prizes – notably in the 2017 Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals – before its win Sunday. The Golden Globes Best Director award – although marred by disappointment among film-industry feminists chagrined that it came from an all-male field of nominees – increases the flick’s odds of taking top honors at the Academy Awards, set to perk up those stateside winter doldrums March 4.