04 · 12 · 19

Guillermo del Toro’s 11 favourite films from The Criterion Collection

In addition to being one of the most recognized filmmakers in the world, Guillermo del Toro is famous for being an inveterate movie buff. For this reason, The Criterion Collection invited the Mexican director to share with them which are the classics that influenced his “dazzlingly imaginative aesthetic”.

For more than three decades, The Criterion Collection has been devoted to distributing important classic and contemporary films of the world cinema. Through the restoration of films and their reproduction in a home format, they have made available to the public special editions, additional content and versions with comments of the films.

These are the eleven favorite films of Guillermo del Toro from The Criterion Collection:

Beauty and the Beast (1946, dir. Jean Cocteau)

“One of the most magical films ever made, one that truly is in love with the sublime, sophisticated, Freudian quality that a fairy tale really has.”

Blood Simple (1984, dir. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)

Blood Simple contains most, if not all, of the preoccupations the Coens will articulate throughout their career . . . It’s a perfect first movie.”

Canoa (1976, dir. Felipe Cazals)

Canoawas part of the generation of films that changed Mexican cinema . . . The screenplay is one of the most brilliant ever written . . . Formally and thematically, it absolutely changes the game of what a Mexican movie was able to portray: it breaks with censorship, it breaks with formal rigidity and with what the state-funded cinema considered sanctionable.”

Eyes Without a Face (1960, dir. Georges Franju)

“[The main character is] like an undead Audrey Hepburn. It influenced me a lot with the contrast between beauty and brutality.”

Vampyr (1932, dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer)

“The camera becomes a character in the film. It’s more than a witness, it’s an active participant in the narrative, and therefore it’s deeply cinematic.”

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

“There is a haphazard chaos that this version has that I find completely charming . . . You can feel that [Hitchcock] is bringing all the tools of the trade that he acquired in England for one great romp.”

La chienne (1931, dir. Jean Renoir)

“Renoir is, above anything else, a humanist, and he doesn’t judge anyone. There is an all-encompassing good will toward humanity in his films.”

Viridiana (1961, dir. Luis Buñuel)

Viridiana reconstructs Buñuel in many ways; it reencounters his identity as a Spanish filmmaker and allows him to regain European prestige, and later allows him to shoot movies everywhere in the world. But it comes at a point when, I believe, he needed it the most.”

Kwaidan (1965, dir. Masaki Kobayashi)

“It’s a fairy tale that is both incredibly scary and incredibly beautiful and talks about love and death with equal passion.”

Time Bandits (1981, dir. Terry Gilliam)

“With Gilliam, you feel that Time Bandits is a story that must have been with us for centuries . . . There is an incredible humor, an incredible cruelty, and an insatiable desire for fun and creativity that embodies, for me, what a kids’ movie should be like.”

The Spirit of the Beehive (1973, dir. Víctor Erice)

The Spirit of the Beehive is a movie that transformed my life. Whatever I do in life, two shadows are cast upon my own: one is James Whale’s Frankenstein, and the other one is Víctor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive, and they are both one and the same.”