“The Shape of Water” Review

the-shape-of-water-french-movie-posterThe Shape of Water (2017)

Words lie, but looks don’t…When you fall in love, you fall in love, absolutely, all at once, all-in. It’s a miracle” (Guillermo del Toro).  

“Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find You all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with Your love, It humbles my heart, For You are everywhere” .

This tale of unlikely love between the Princess without Voice or Elisa and the creature from the Amazon has been nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and there are good reasons for this furore. Mexican director Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006)) has finally made the movie he wanted to make for a long time. Del Toro merges different cinematic genres (fantasy, drama and romance), while paying tribute to black-and-white Hollywood musicals and B-movie monsters, to produce a movie which is almost faultless in its directional execution, acting and emotional content. The director draws on a number of sources to tell the unlikely love story which, among many other things, portrays and sympathises with the lives of the “underdog” minority, and engagingly sets out the high-pressure conditions of living in the times of the Cold War. 

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Plagiarism claim: Jean-Pierre Jeunet accused Guillermo del Toro of copying his scene from “Delicatessen” and his concept from “Amelie” for film “The Shape of Water”


A number of newspapers and news sources (such as IndieWire, DailyMail) reported that French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet accused Guillermo del Toro of copying one of his scenes from his movie “Delicatessen” (1991) for del Toro’s latest film “The Shape of Water“. Moreover, Jeunet accused del Toro of copying the character of Amelie from “Amelie” (2001) for “The Shape of Water“. In particular, there is a scene in Jeunet’s movie “Delicatessen” where Louison (Pinon) and Plusse (Viard) appear “dancing” to music while sitting on a bed. In “The Shape of Water“, the characters played by Hawkins and Jenkins also perform a step-dance while sitting on a sofa. As for “Amelie“, the French director claims that the concepts of a shy and naive girl, a painter and an apartment were lifted off straight from “Amelie” to make “The Shape of Water“. The Mexican director defended himself by saying that it was Terry Gilliam who influenced both Jeunet and himself. 

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Academy Award Nominations 2018: Some Commentary

2018-academy-awards-finalists-released-1170x630Best Picture  

My favourite to win: The Shape of Water 

It is a bit of a surprise that “Phantom Thread” as well as “Get Out” made this list. “Get Out” is a horror (not the Academy Awards’ favourite genre), which was released a bit less than one year ago. Even though it is good to see the Academy nominating such a dark-horse, the amazement is still there. For all its unforgettably tense psychological atmosphere, “Get Out” is still a flawed film (see my review here), and one may  wonder whether, as with “Moonlight” the year before, there were not some “race politics” involved in this decision as well. On the other hand, such a great film as “The Florida Project” is nowhere to be seen here, which is astounding. I guess the Academy thought that by nominating “Call Me By Your Name”, they would be done with it when it comes to paying their dues and nominating aesthetically-pleasing, independent-spirited films. The limit is ten nominees per category, and, surely, “The Florida Project” deserves its tenth place on this list.  Read more of this post

BFI London Film Festival 2017


Yesterday was the last day of the BFI London Film Festival 2017, which ran between 4-15 October 2017, and I thought I would comment on the Best Film Award winner, on some other nominees, as well as on some of the films that took part in various special galas. The films of the Festival reflected today’s global challenges, while also emphasising various nations’ peculiar traditions and highlighting truly personal stories behind broader themes.

I. Official Competition – Best Film Award: 

Winner – “Loveless (Andrey Zvyagintsev)

Coming from Andrey Zvyagintsev, the man behind such critically-acclaimed films as “Leviathan” (2014) and “The Return” (2003), “Loveless” is another well-made film about a couple who lose their son during difficult time of divorce. “Loveless” has already made commotion (in a very positive sense) at the Cannes Film Festival, and all points to a drama which as emotionally devastating as it is thought-provoking. 

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“The Shape of Water” Trailer

Steve J Donahue

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