551, 666, 838 Trilogía de Guillermo del Toro

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Antoine Doinel
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#101 Post by Antoine Doinel » Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:11 am

You seem to be both recognizing what the film is (a fable) yet criticizing it by what it is not (morally ambiguous). Fables by their nature lay out the moral framework fairly obviously and you either buy into it or you don't. And again, his film isn't about the Spanish civil war; but yes, he is addressing human nature and I think in particularly innocence and the loss of it that all children must go through in becoming adults as I addressed in my previous post.

"Relentlessly grim" is obviously subjective and if del Toro took it to the extreme length in your post, this thread would no longer be about moral ambiguity, but with the masochistic nature of the screenplay. There are very few mainstream Hollywood films that would put a child protagonist through the ringer she is here and then have her die at the end. But, I suppose since everyone didn't die, it wasn't grim enough for you - to each their own. At least with the people I saw this with (and who I've watched Se7en with) regard them as dark films.

I'm not sure what you mean by "genuinely aesthetically strikingly". Did it break new cinematic ground? No, I'm sure it didn't but within the framework of a fable exploring the transition from childhood into adulthood; into a grown-up world that is chaotic and confusing to a child, I think the film succeeds tremendously.

Finally, given your apparent dislike for Tim Burton, Steven Spielberg and Nosferatu, it seems the fantasy genre in general is something you don't particularly like.

Nothing
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#102 Post by Nothing » Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:26 am

But again, you're using the word 'fable' as if that excuses the film's dishonest, simplistic audience-pleasing/baiting. As much as I detest Spielberg's output, his/Fiennes' Amon Goeth in Schindler's List feels like Eric Rohmer next to Del Toro's monotone creation. Consider the scene where the Captain kills the two peasants; this feels like something lifted fourth-hand out of another movie, a scene to which Del Toro feels no real emotional or physical connection, every quiver of fear and twitch of sadism designed to wring a certain response out of the audience. We know what is going to happen (right down to the appearance of the rabbits) the moment the scene begins, so the only way Del Toro can shock/surprise us is to amp up the gore to Irreversible levels. Now compare this to the genuinely disturbing / thought-provoking scenes of war atrocities in films by Jancso, Klimov, Makavejev, Ichikawa, etc, and come back to me with the phrase 'high art'.

Del Toro wants us to hiss at the Captain, cry for Ofelia, cheer for Mercedes, shiver at the Faun... pantomime / audience manipulation at its most base and uninteresting.

I didn't say I dislike Nosferatu!

che-etienne
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#103 Post by che-etienne » Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:44 am

Mr Sausage, I'm glad we've been able to have this discourse out. Though I see we won't agree on this one, I like the fact that it all played out with civility and I feel you've made some great points.

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godardslave
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#104 Post by godardslave » Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:03 pm

I'm with Nothing, a fable does not neccessarily have to be morally simplistic. Many good fables are ambiguous and challenging in their moral intrepretation. I also agree the film was pathetically and obviously reliant on gore and violence to "thrill" the audience.

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Mr Sausage
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#105 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:55 pm

I think much more important than whether or not Pan's Labyrinth is a fable is whether or not it works as a fable. There is a tendency to get hung up on arguing about what it is more than how successful it is. This is perhaps stating the obvious, but just because a film is doing something deliberately doesn't mean said thing is right for the film.

I'm also going to toss in an unnecessary comment: I would have loved more fantasy and a more structured and developed mythology in place of some of the war stuff. There were some great touches in this movie, tho'. Like the wounded rebel pushing away the gun, or the calculated embarrassments of the dinner. I liked that one motif from the score (vague, yes, but I'm sure you know the one).

Bajaja
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#106 Post by Bajaja » Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:27 am

Mr_sausage, I liked the motif in the score, too, but I wish I could quickly check the song sung at the end of the Disney's animated Jungle Book, when Mowgli finds the girl at the river. Are not the two motifs frighteningly similar (sorry, I can only rely on my memory)? Does anyone care to confirm or disprove this?

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#107 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Sat Mar 31, 2007 7:19 pm

Did the baby mandrake root remind anyone else here of the Eraserhead baby?

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essrog
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Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)

#108 Post by essrog » Sat Dec 01, 2007 2:50 pm

I'm about a year behind on my movies, so I understand if no one even wants to bother with this, but ...

After finally catching up with Pan's Labyrinth last night, I was troubled by the grape-eating scene just as many others here were. But in reading up on the film after, I came across Noel Murray's review in The Onion's. In the comments section underneath the review, someone brought up that scene, and here's Murray's response:
Noel Murray wrote: If you watch the scene with the "pale man" again, you'll note that the faeries tell her which box to put her key in, but she has a feeling (signified by a music cue) that they're wrong, so she pickes a different box, and she's right. Walking by the fruit, she has the same feeling (same music cue) that she should eat the fruit. The faeries tell her no, but the faeries were wrong before. She eats the fruit. This time she's the one who's wrong. But at least it was her choice, not a case of blind obedience.
That made a lot of sense to be, since obedience vs. choice was one of the main themes of the film -- obedience (in the form of the captain) being continually linked to sacrifice of identity and ultimate destruction.

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Matt
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Forthcoming: Cronos

#109 Post by Matt » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:57 pm

Tribe wrote:I only know of Cronos by reputation. I take it it's well-received by the bulk of the Forum folk? How does it compare to Del Toro's later work?
It's of a piece with The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth, but on a much smaller scale. It's very languidly paced, but a nice variation on the vampire mythos.

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Forthcoming: Cronos

#110 Post by s.j. bagley » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:52 pm

i love it and find it to be one of the better films dealing with aging.

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Forthcoming: Cronos

#111 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:25 pm

I liked it very much, but it has been a number of years since I last watched it. It certainly feels like it anticipates many of the themes from the director's later films - the complex mechanical devices and bizarre creatures (the device seems to be both), vampirism, fantastical conflicts against real world backdrops, the innocence of children that can grasp the emotional heart of a bizarre situation and adapt better to such than adults trapped in their more limited worldview can. Not to mention the presence of a number of actors who reappear in later films, notably Ron Perlman in an over the top baddie role, slipping from English to Spanish in his threatening speeches. Even within lines of his speech!

I was particularly impressed with the first half of the film which deals with the creation of the Cronos device and the curse it brings to those who encounter it until it falls into the hands of the antique dealer, Jesus, played by Federico Luppi (who went on to supporting roles in The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth), who gets fatefully involved with the device after accidentally activating it (shades of Hellraiser). I also liked the way the vampire lore is updated - the way the device hooks into the skin feels mechanical but also has insect elements, and with the piercing needles ideas of drug use and dependency are raised. The old man experiences the life changing benefits of the device in the way he gains renewed vigour but eventually realises the price of immortality as he begins to become a slave to the device and the physical changes it brings that are not all beneficial. In that sense it is a Cronenbergian 'body horror' type film too, though del Toro's film seems primarily concerned with the story it is telling than with these ideas behind it - it is more obviously structured as an entertainment piece.

There are a few scenes from this film that are among the best Guillermo del Toro has made - the discovery of the device inside the statue and the way Jesus first gives in to his urges by licking the drops of blood left behind by a party guest with a nosebleed from the gleaming marbled tiles of a bathroom floor are particularly powerful.

While I feel that after the brilliant first half the film falls into a cliched good guy/bad guy showdown on top of a neon sign (shades of Highlander) it totally redeems itself with the beautifully moving final scene that returns us to the heart of the film that is the relationship between the grandfather and granddaughter (from earlier on in the film I loved the way the girl turns her toy chest into a makeshift coffin for her grandpa and which is lined with teddy bears!)

ehimle
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Forthcoming: Cronos

#112 Post by ehimle » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:55 pm

Whoa! what a pleasant surprise. count me in as one who is a del Toro fan. I'm glad this is coming out on Criterion. Wanted to see this ever since I watched devil's backbone.

So is this Ron Perlman's intro into the collection? How are the rights to this broken down? Is this being licensed through Criterion's typical channels? It looks as if the last DVD was released by Lion's Gate.

ianungstad
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Forthcoming: Cronos

#113 Post by ianungstad » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:02 pm

Criterion screened Guillermo's short film Dona Lupe as part of the ATP festival last year. I would be very surprised if the short didn't make it to the Cronos set as an extra. Anyways, I have the old Lionsgate disc which came packaged free with Pan's Labyrinth, I liked it enough that I'll double dip. Great news!

I think the short has only ever been released on the Cinema 16: World Cinema set. The Cinema 16 sets have included various Janus shorts in the various volumes.

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Jeff
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Re: 551 Cronos

#114 Post by Jeff » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:00 pm

The sell sheets don't mention Universal, Focus, or any other distributor, studio, or licensor of any kind. Perhaps the rights have reverted to del Toro, with Criterion licensing directly from him.

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kaujot
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Re: 551 Cronos

#115 Post by kaujot » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:45 pm

Perhaps that's the reason for the 15 month delay.

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Venom
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Re: 551 Cronos

#116 Post by Venom » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:41 am

Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman have collaborated on few English-language films; does Perlman speak Spanish in this film? I know that he also starred in the French-language film The City of Lost Children, but I heard he "parrotted" the lines.

Edit: Alright got this one, Ron addresses it in his interview.
Last edited by Venom on Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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Re: 551 Cronos

#117 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:50 pm


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Finch
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Re: 551 Cronos

#118 Post by Finch » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:28 am

Love the menus. I should have my copy by the end of this week. \:D/

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Re: 551 Cronos

#119 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:30 pm

The menus look great, and I particularly like the evocatively mythical chapter names as shown in one of the menu pictures - A cautionary tale / Angel's visitation / The stinger / Nocturnal urges, etc - which nicely expand what is quite an intimate story out with wider implications.

(But then I think well chosen chapter headings are an area that Criterion usually excels in anyway!)

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Finch
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Re: 551 Cronos

#120 Post by Finch » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:12 pm

colin's excellent post on the film chimes very much with my own take on the film and it's an early precursor to Pan's Labyrinth in many ways on a smaller scale although it strikes me as a more intimate and certainly more focused work than the latter. Couldn't agree more with colin also that the last scene between Luppi and Perlman takes the shine off this otherwise truly unique and distinguished film a little by being so ordinary and cliched (a weakness in Del Toro's work on a whole: his films can be so original and striking that when there are more conventional moments or scenes, they stick out all the more awkwardly), but the very last scene of the picture is note-perfect and is most beautifully done. Del Toro mentions in the Crit interview how he values moments of serenity and he totally knocked it out of the park with the coda. There's much in the film that works extremely well but what sold me most about the film was the bond between Gris and Aurora which Del Toro shows with real warmth and sincerity. Colin mentioned the scene in which Aurora welcomes Gris back into the shed on the rooftop - for me one of the most touching scenes I've seen all year.

What struck me also in the interview was that, to me, he seemed not entirely satisfied with much of the film (unless I'm misreading this and he didn't want to praise his own film too much lest he comes across as self-absorbed) since I found it to be a remarkably assured debut and the plotting is easily better than in Pan's Labyrinth or the Hellboy films (the latter of which I actually quite like a lot). What comes through in all the extras is the passion of everyone involved (Luppi's interview was licensed from Lionsgate and the A/V is distressingly bad compared to Crit's preceding high def featurettes) and the piece on Del Toro's Bleak House offices was a total riot - I wish I had a place like this. And frankly, it makes the wait for his adaptation of At The Mountains of Madness all the more agonising (don't butcher this, Universal)!

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Finch
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Re: 551 Cronos

#121 Post by Finch » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:36 pm


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Re: 551 Cronos

#122 Post by cdnchris » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:46 am


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jbeall
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551 Cronos

#123 Post by jbeall » Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:04 pm

colinr0380 wrote:I was particularly impressed with the first half of the film which deals with the creation of the Cronos device and the curse it brings to those who encounter it until it falls into the hands of the antique dealer, Jesus, played by Federico Luppi (who went on to supporting roles in The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth), who gets fatefully involved with the device after accidentally activating it (shades of Hellraiser).
Great post, Colin. Your observation connecting Cronos and Hellraiser makes me think that Aurora's glowstick is also a nod towards The Reanimator.

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knives
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Re: 551 Cronos

#124 Post by knives » Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:21 am

Is this the first Criterion disc to have a commentary primarily in a language other than english?

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 551 Cronos

#125 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:32 am

I believe one of the commentaries on the 400 Blows is in French.

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