The Shape of Water (2017)

What “The Shape of Water” ultimately amounts to is Guillermo Del Toro’s own adoration for monster and romance cinema. Del Toro constantly evokes shades of “The Creature Walks Among Us,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” while also channeling Woody Allen’s “Purple Rose of Cairo.” Much like the latter, “The Shape of Water” depicts a somewhat whimsical romance in a world filled with misery and darkness at every corner. Del Toro has a lot to say about the ugliness of humanity and the ideas of what monsters truly are in this world and others.

Continue reading

La pazza gioia (Like Crazy) (2016) [San Diego Italian Film Festival 2017]

Two women interned in a psychiatric facility in Tuscany escape looking for a little bit of happiness.

Written by Paolo Virzy and Francesca Archibugi based on a story by Virzy who also directs, La pazza gioia is a lovely story of two women with not much in common coming together to try and find some happiness. Given that both are crazy leads to this being complicated by where they live and their issues as well as how they are viewed on the outside of the facility. These characters are charming even as their issues come to light and they are clearly not completely innocent. Their background is explored in a way that gives a view on mental facility patients that is not all negative. It’s a view on them that is gentle, loving, and caring. The characters are shown as humans first, crazy second. Their goals are like anyone else’s; they just go about things a bit differently. The way the film approaches mental health is refreshing as the story is not at the expense of the patients but respectful of them and their beings. They are fully fleshed characters and not caricatures of their issues, something that brings the viewer in and creates a story that is easily enjoyed while showing how hard life can be for people with mental problems and issues.

Continue reading