Sight and Sound (2012) - Lessons of Darkness
- article: Lessons of Darkness
- author(s): Guillermo del Toro
- journal: Sight and Sound (01/Aug/2012)
- issue: volume 22, issue 8, page 38
- journal ISSN: 0037-4806
- publisher: Tower Publishing Services
- keywords: Alfred Hitchcock, Appreciation, Blackmail (1929), Brian De Palma, Cary Grant, Cinematography, Claude Chabrol, Claude Rains, David O. Selznick, Farley Granger, Filmmakers, François Truffaut, Frenzy (1972), Guillermo del Toro, Influence, Ingrid Bergman, James Mason, Leopoldine Konstantin, Martin Balsam, Methods, Motion picture criticism, Motion picture directors & producers, Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, North by Northwest (1959), Notorious (1946), Oscar Wilde, Patricia Highsmith, Psycho (1960), Raymond Chandler, Robert Walker, Saboteur (1942), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Strangers on a Train (1951), Suspicion (1941), The Birds (1963), Vertigo (1958), Works
Del Toro offers a director's point of view on what future generations can learn from the master, British director Alfred Hitchcock. Since his early twenties, when he published a book about Hitchcock, the Mexican film director has returned to his films again and again. According to him, the richest parts of Hitchcock's legacy, are in the pathways he opened up for the articulation of theme through genre be it comedy, melodrama or any other -- with his advocacy of pure cinema.
LESSONS OF DARKNESS
Since his early twenties, when he published a book about Hitchcock, 'Pan's Labyrinth' director Guillermo del Toro has returned to his films again and again. He offers a director's POV on what we can learn from the master
I revisit Hitchcock's films more than I do those of any other filmmaker, except perhaps Buñuel. I visit them like the faithful visit the Ganges. I bathe in Hitchcock, the infinite and merciful. Nevertheless, in my own films I don't deliberately attempt to imitate him, either thematically or visually, and I would never dare to suggest that I aspire to achieve his power and reach as a storyteller. I know, in fact, that the only things I do share with him presently are his Catholic guilt and his pant size.
In my early twenties I published a book about Hitchcock and his films. It was over 500 pages long - a votive offering to a god beyond reach. I was not then, and never will be, alone in my devotion. Hitchcock is among the most influential artists of the 20th century. His films have influenced music, painting, sculpture, television, literature - even architecture. But the true measure of his influence is that we often describe and understand certain works of art, or experiences we have in life beyond cinema, with an adjective: 'Hitchcockian'. As with other giants of world art, to invoke Hitchcock's name is to summon up a flavour, a feeling - the essence of his work.
And yet it is all too easy to misunderstand what he brought to cinema. Many of his emblematic motifs have been misinterpreted or diluted in genre efforts that seem deceptively close to him, but are in reality far removed from his true essence. Take the Italian giallo film, for instance a fetishistic, stylish exerc...