Even years later, Guillermo Del Toro remains my favorite interview subject. A jet-fuelled quote engine with a hilarious and self-effacing sense of humour, you’ll not lack for material when putting together a piece on whatever subject Del Toro expounds upon. Since Del Toro is pretty much a full-time Toronto resident these days (his last few projects as director and producer have all shot here in town), he’s done a number of public appearances at the TIFF Lightbox on King Street to present some of the films he admires, be they obscurities like Pupi Avati’s ARCANE ENCHANTER or exalted Hitchcock classics like NOTORIOUS.
I’ve been fortunate enough to catch a few of these screenings and their accompanying lectures by Del Toro (called ‘masterclasses’ by TIFF), and can’t recommend the experience highly enough. Del Toro, who has written a textbook on the films of Hitchcock in his native Mexico, is always an engaging and affable speaker, pointing out themes and techniques in the films while relating them to his own life and career.
Last week, TIFF announced a new Del Toro masterclass happening Monday, November 24th at seven P.M. The topic is the late Ken Russell’s controversial 1971 swing at the Catholic church, entitled THE DEVILS. The provocative DEVILS is notable for the various trimmed and censored versions that eventually hit the market, leading to speculation that a truly uncut version no longer exists. I’m not a huge fan of what I’ve seen from Russell’s admittedly daring but off-putting catalog, but I am eager to hear why Del Toro thinks this particular movie deserves our attention—and truth be told, I’d probably show up to a Wayans Brothers’ movie if Del Toro were hosting.