Cleansing of the Soul for a Clean Slate: Guillermo del Toro’s ‘The Devil’s Backbone’

The Devil’s Backbone poster by Matt Talbot

 
By Sven Mikulec

Three decades ago, the now-renowned Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro was at the beginning of his path. Prior to making Cronos, a dark, visually rich and atmospheric vampire film back in 1993, the director had been working in the Mexican film industry for the better part of a decade. However, it was this critically acclaimed low-budget mixture of horror and drama, which Roger Ebert complimented as a combination of classic horror and “colorful Latin magic realism,” that went on to win the grand prize in the Critics’ Week at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival and garnered nine triumphs at the Ariel Awards in Mexico, consequently putting him under the spotlight and attracting international attention. It didn’t just get him on the outskirts of a map—it opened the gates of Hollywood. In his early thirties, Guillermo del Toro soon found himself helming a 30-million-dollar horror flick for Miramax, but the overall experience of making Mimic, a sci-fi horror film with Mira Sorvino and Josh Brolin, turned out to be such a painful journey del Toro regretted even touching Weinstein-guarded doors of Hollywood in the first place. To say Bob Weinstein simply interfered would be a deceiving understatement: after seeing the early footage, he considered del Toro’s film to be severely lacking in the fright-inducing department and made sure to storm the set to teach the Mexican director how to do his job properly. Even after giving up on the idea of firing the director, the producer still insisted on final cut. The shoot was finished, the production wrapped, the premiere held. The critics took their swings, Weinstein moved on, but in the course of the next couple of decades del Toro demonstrated time and time again what kind of a traumatic process his first foray into Hollywood actually was. “The only time I have experienced bad behavior, and it remains one of the worst experiences of my life, was in 1997, when I did Mimic for Miramax,” del Toro confessed. It couldn’t have been that horrible, you might ponder? “It was a horrible, horrible, horrible experience.” Just to illustrate how much of a scar the collaboration with Miramax left, it’s enough to note that, simultaneously with the professional turmoil, del Toro also endured a personal crisis: his father was kidnapped in Mexico and held for ransom for more than two months. And when he compared these two situations, he stated Mimic inflicted more damage because “what was happening to me and the movie was far more illogical than the kidnapping—which is brutal, but at least there are rules.” It’s to no wonder then that the disillusioned del Toro wanted nothing to do with Hollywood anymore and desperately needed a cleansing of sorts, so when his plans to adapt Memphisto’s Bridge and The List of Seven fell through, he decided to work on a film he started the script for back in the eighties. It was a personal project, and as such the perfect opportunity for him to revisit his filmmaking roots and discover once again what he loved about making movies. And when all seemed a bit dark and discouraging, an unexpected friend popped up.

The Devil’s Backbone, del Toro’s passion project conceived back in his student days, was surprisingly made possible by Pedro Almodóvar, who decided to use his production company El Deseo to help get it made, based solely on his appreciation of Cronos and his sympathy for del Toro’s plight with Miramax. It wasn’t only a kind gesture that ultimately kickstarted del Toro’s paralyzed career—it was a great business opportunity for Almodóvar, as well. “Guillermo had been through a terrible time on Mimic. I knew Cronos and was very, very impressed by it—it was a truly original horror movie. So my brother Agustín and I contacted him, and he told us about his experience with Miramax: how awful it was in terms of freedom; how he really needed to get back to his own language, and above all to be able to shoot with complete freedom,” shared Almodóvar later. “So we took advantage of that.”

I remember discussing the notion of final cut with Pedro early in the process and seeing him grow genuinely confused. “I need to have final cut, of course,” I said. “What is a final cut?” he asked me. “Well,” I tried to explain, “the final cut means that the final edit decision globally and in any scene rests with me.” His eyes widened and he looked around confused. “But, of course, the decision is yours!” he said. “You’re the director!”Guillermo del Toro in his foreword to Matt Zoller Seitz and Simon Abrams’ book Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone

 
Unburdened with any studio interference, with tight grips on the reigns and enjoying unlimited faith and support from his partners on the project, del Toro made The Devil’s Backbone (El espinazo del diablo), a gothic horror film set in a creaking, creepy little orphanage in the dusty Spanish middle of nowhere during the final period of the extremely bloody Civil War. The facility is run by the aging Professor Casares and Carmen, who use the orphanage as a sanctuary for the children of active Spanish Republican loyalists. Not only do they take care of the children, they are also hiding a large treasure used to support the Republican cause in the war. A small boy named Carlos reaches the orphanage, and very soon gets acquainted with the elderly caretakers and the vicious, ill-tempered groundskeeper Jacinto, as well as a huge defused bomb that stands half-buried in the middle of the orphanage’s courtyard. Upon realizing he is to take the bed once occupied by the now-deceased boy called Santi, Carlos leads us deeper into the heart of the sanctuary, burdened with secrets, ambitions, desires and quiet but oh-so-petrifying sighs coming from the darkness.

A true artist creates best when unhindered by the expectations, disturbance and obstructions of his surroundings. What del Toro needed after the infamous Mimic rollercoaster, and his first (dis)taste of what working for major American studios can be like, was the space and time necessary to tell his stories just the way he wanted them told. What makes The Devil’s Backbone one of the most impressive and beautiful films of the beginning of the 21st century is its exquisite storytelling. From the first sequence, as we see the bomb getting dropped from the sky, to the very last, The Devil’s Backbone sucks us in its complex, highly atmospheric world of pain, death and sorrow, but also of love and hope, all the things that shape and distinguish the human experience. To simply call the film a ghost story, or even a wonderfully executed ghost story, would mean underestimating the range and depth of del Toro’s work. The beginning of the film straightforwardly but generously lets us in on the overarching theme:

What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and time again? An instance of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber.

 
The very concept of a ghost is that of something from the past that clearly and seemingly unnaturally influences the present much to the surprise and incomprehension of an observer. “Something dead which still seems to be alive.” The past, however, is never really dead, because it profoundly shapes the present and therefore somewhat influences and designs the future. This is a motif used throughout The Devil’s Backbone, both on larger, and even more efficiently on smaller scales, as groundskeeper Jacinto’s story clearly shows us. The entire history of humankind is built on our mistakes and our tragic failure to learn from them, and this is something the filmmaker is clearly very familiar with. A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and time again.

In The Devil’s Backbone, the story is set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, which del Toro called “the precursor of all the fascist conflicts in Europe.” Just like the little orphanage, stranded in the middle of nowhere to fend for itself, in the decade that led to the Second World War Spain was also abandoned in the hands of a fascist dictator. From a narrative point of view, symbolism is a powerful tool del Toro expertly uses to enrich the story he presents us with. Just like it’s no accident that the plot unravels in a desolate landscape in the desert, it’s also hardly a coincidence that the defused bomb standing menacingly in the middle of the courtyard is a couple of times larger than it would have been in a documentary. Its presence is more disturbing this way, with its shadows looming over the children, and the derelict, therefore, serves as a constant reminder of the grim times the country’s going through and the imminent danger all the characters are exposed to. Equally insightful is a scene where the orphans are choired with moving the crucifix from the yard, one of them hilariously commenting on how heavy Christ was for a dead man. It’s scarcely a sentence that ended up in a lapsed Catholic’s script by accident. What about the image of a drowning man held under surface by a sack of gold tied around his waist? There are numerous other examples of simple images intelligently used to enhance the story and make the very most of the limited timeframe inherently imposed on the storytelling medium that is film.

The Devil’s Backbone is an exploration of our history, the burden of memory, the dynamics of family, of human nature in general. When we state the film was an opportunity for del Toro to make something more personal, it’s not just the fact it’s a Spanish-speaking film shot in Europe with complete creative control that we based our conclusion on. By making a film on his own terms, del Toro was able to delve into matters close to his heart, considering and investigating themes and notions that tingled both his mind and soul. When he was a kid, del Toro once heard sighs coming from his deceased uncle’s room. What would petrify most people, in his case got transformed into a motif the filmmaker waited patiently to put to creative use in the future. Growing up, del Toro’s imagination was filled with monsters, ghosts and creatures from the dark. He befriended them and incorporated them into his work, and The Devil’s Backbone was a perfect playground to let some of them roam around.

 
One of the main differences between this film and a thousand Hollywood ghost stories that were more or less competently told over the decades is the storytelling. To tell a truly great story you need time. There are no cheap thrills here. Instead of coming up with a few terrifying sequences and then building the characters and plot around them so as to camouflage the shallow intention of spilling a bit of someone’s popcorn on the theater floor, The Devil’s Backbone allows for the tension and terror to come organically from the characters. The restrained but engrossing script was written by David Muñoz, Antonio Trashorras and the director himself, and it stands as one of the brightest examples of what a horror screenplay should look like in terms of pace and character development. The aforementioned use of symbolism further adds substance and meat around the bones so everything feels rounded, polished and with meaning far deeper than even that ominous water tank hidden in the dark of the sanctuary.

With Javier Navarrete’s musical score and director of photography Guillermo Navarro’s (Pan’s Labyrinth) visuals, the film is brought to life by a great cast consisting of Marisa Paredes (All About My Mother, The Skin I Live In), Federico Luppi (Cronos, Pan’s Labyrinth), Eduardo Noriega (Tesis, Open Your Eyes) and the youngsters Fernando Tielve and Íñigo Garcés.

Critically acclaimed and, as the years that followed soon proved, very influential, The Devil’s Backbone is a gem of a film that proved del Toro’s creative genius. It’s a shame that it took the misery of working with Miramax and all that consequential trauma to get there, but who are we to hold grudges when even del Toro doesn’t. “I can attest, in a nonmasochistic way, that pain is a great teacher,” he said. “I don’t relish it, but I learn from it. I always say, even as an ex-Catholic, that God sends the letter but not the dictionary. You need to forge your own dictionary.” All it took for this genius to turn the letter into one of our all-time favorite visual poems was a little faith from an understanding colleague. Because at the end of Mimic’s underground tunnels there was a light that keeps on shining.

Infatuated with the world of film since the early days, when ‘The Three Amigos’, ‘The Goonies’ and ‘Back to the Future’ rocked his world, Sven Mikulec majored in English with a special emphasis on American culture and started an unlikely career in organizing pub quizzes. Huge fan of Simon & Garfunkel, a mediocre table tennis player and passionate fridge magnet collector, he’s interested in fulfilling his long-term goal of interviewing Jack Nicholson while Paul Simon sings ‘April Come She Will’ quietly in the background. Read more »

 
Screenwriter must-read: Guillermo del Toro, Antonio Trashorras & David Muñoz’s screenplay for The Devil’s Backbone [PDF1, PDF2]. (NOTE: For educational and research purposes only). Many thanks to screenwriter David Muñoz and Guillermo del Toro for helping us get our hands on this wonderful script. The DVD/Blu-ray of the film is available at the Criterion Collection. Absolutely our highest recommendation.

 
Guillermo del Toro reflects on The Devil’s Backbone in foreword to the book Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone by Matt Zoller Seitz and Simon Abrams, which can be purchased here. Absolutely our highest recommendation.

Regret is a ghost—a road not taken, a reckless moment, a missed opportunity. In this manner, we are all haunted.

In the early 1990s, after doing Cronos, I found myself in a bit of a limbo. It was a limbo I am now quite familiar with. I don’t belong in any safe film category: too weird for full-on summer fare, too in love with pop culture for the art house world, and too esoteric for hardcore fandom. The fact is, every premise I am attracted to has an inherent risk of failure. I often find myself wondering why I cannot choose an easier path. But I guess I cannot. It’s in my nature. I am one with my vices and I believe that, well regarded, our vices render our virtues.

The Devil’s Backbone was, originally, a horror tale set against the Mexican revolution. The film authorities in charge viewed it with great displeasure, as they did Cronos, and the shelfful of national and international awards the latter title had garnered was not helpful at all. We were denied any official funding or support.

A few years after Cronos’ debut at Cannes, as I was at the tail end of the festival tour, I felt no closer to getting a film made. Ever. Again. The promise of a career in film was fading fast, and regret, with all its ghosts, was settling in.

Then Pedro Almodóvar saved me.

How did he do it? Where did it happen? You’ll have to read on…

That story and many more are chronicled in the book you have in your hands. It consigns, in great detail, the making of what really felt like my first film after the frustrations or inexperience of Cronos and Mimic.

Making The Devil’s Backbone, I finally felt in command of my visual style, my narrative rhythm, and was able to work in a profound manner with my cast and crew to craft a beautiful genre-masher: a Gothic tale set against the backdrop of the greatest ghost engine of all—war.

The second greatest ghost engine is, in my opinion, memory. With this in mind I started trying to make a movie that would join these two strands and make one thing clear: The ghost is not the scariest thing in the tale. It is human cruelty.

The visual and narrative rules I set out to meet were a bit crazy—I wanted to combine the look of a Western with the flair of a horror film and the austerity of a war chronicle. I wanted to make the personalities of the children in the tale as real as possible. I wanted to avoid the notions of innocence and embrace purity and solidarity.

I was able to put together one of the finest casts I’ve ever assembled, and we all set out to meet a visual ambition that far exceeded our budget (three–four million Euros). This ambition/budget imbalance has been a constant in my quarter-of-a-century career.

This tale of orphans coming together against the deficient, perverse, and brutal world of adults remains one of my top three films. I have tried to be as candid as possible in the interview that constitutes the backbone of this book. I tried to keep the truth unadorned and unvarnished by nostalgia.

The Devil’s Backbone, however, was also one of the most pleasant shoots I’ve ever had. Protected by the Almodóvar brothers and their production company, El Deseo S.A., I was free to create and was given total control.

I needed this. I needed it so much. After going through a nightmarish shoot on Mimic, I felt that Hollywood filmmaking was not to be.

I was entering this new process full of fear and worry.

And then, it all changed.

I remember discussing the notion of “final cut” with Pedro early in the process and seeing him grow genuinely confused. “I need to have final cut, of course,” I said. “What is a final cut?” he asked me. “Well,” I tried to explain, “the final cut means that the final edit decision globally and in any scene rests with me.” His eyes widened and he looked around confused, “But, of course, the decision is yours!” he said. “You’re the director!”

And that started me off on a joyful, enraptured creative experience.

The movie healed all my wounds—made me whole again. I am as grateful as I’ve ever been to Pedro. In fact, I’ve since produced and “godfathered” many first films in order to pay it forward, trying to thank the universe for giving me this film.

And then, lest I forget, The Devil’s Backbone bore a companion piece you may like to get familiar with—it’s called Pan’s Labyrinth. They are “mirrored movies,” which reveal symmetries and reflections if you ever watch them together… and I love them both with equal passion.

So, a film about ghosts cleared all ghosts from my past. A film about loss gave me life again. A story of orphans gave me a filmmaking family.

Disguised as a Gothic tale, The Devil’s Backbone hides a beating heart and a story about loss and the phantoms of regret. It is a worthy “boy’s adventure” and a small fable full of melancholy.

This film is full of love and worthy of love.

I do hope you’ll agree.
Guillermo del Toro, Toronto, Summer 2017

 
No Mimic; Guillermo del Toro declares his independence with Devil’s Backbone, by Anthony Kaufman. This article was originally published in Indiewire, Nov 27, 2001.

“If you want to make a personal film, don’t fuck around; make a personal film. Don’t go and try to do it in a studio,” says Mexican director Guillermo del Toro. After a less than pleasant experience shooting the Hollywood bug thriller Mimic, the 37-year-old filmmaker was more than happy to have left the studios behind for his third picture, The Devil’s Backbone. After his low budget Mexican horror film Cronos put him on the map, del Toro went Hollywood, and lived and learned about the struggles of creative control. Now with those lessons behind him, del Toro has managed to craft a clever, glossy ghost story, set in an orphanage during the Spanish civil war, for a fraction of the price. While he’s currently putting the finishing touches on the studio blockbuster Blade 2 for his fourth cinematic outing, del Toro says he now knows the difference between making movies for himself and for Hollywood. And he applies his same intensity and focus to both: a week of production for del Toro equals six days of shooting and one day of editing. Based in Austin and Mexico, the 37-year-old director spoke to Indiewire’s Anthony Kaufman about money and freedom, style and language, and knowing what you want. When asked about why he likes to spend time in Austin, del Toro doesn’t hesitate.

In Hollywood, you spend so much time getting your head fucking swelled, and I really enjoy Austin and my bouts of freedom there and doing films the way I want to do them.

That’s what I wanted to ask you first: why make this movie?
To declare my independence. With Cronos, I loved the process of doing it creatively, but I had a terrible time, financially. It was a movie that demanded much more from me economically, but in terms of putting it together piece-by-piece creatively, it was great. But then Mimic comes and it has enough funding, but there is just not the freedom. It’s a studio process, which is completely different and quite frankly, I did not enjoy it. I had great moments, I forged great friendships—to this day, I value my friendship with Mira Sorvino and Jeremy Northam—but at the end of the day, the product that was put out there was not as commercial as the studio wanted and not as creative as I would have wanted. After that, I desperately needed to go back and do a movie that I had absolute control over the material. And I also wanted to prove to myself that I could do my own stories. Thanks to Pedro Almodóvar and my own production company, this movie allowed me to declare my independence. This was the exact perfect situation. Because I had enough money and all the fucking freedom in the world. For all those who think sacrificing a little bit of freedom for a lot of money is worth it, it isn’t. And what I love about having done Blade 2 after, is that I went into it without the same illusions as I went into Mimic. I went in, saying, this is going to be a great exercise, I’m going to have fun, and a lot of toys to play with, and some really cool people to play with, but this ain’t going to be a personal film. Some of your readers might think that they can access Hollywood on the first try and keep their independence and their spirit, and you may perhaps, but it’s really hard. You have to choose your battles. And say, “For this movie, I’m going to win this much.” And take your career as a long term plan. As long as you’re making a movie that you feel passionately about, even if in the end the result is not exactly what you wanted, it’s worth the trip. If you want to make a personal film, don’t fuck around; make a personal film. Don’t go and try to do it in a studio.

The production values on Devil’s Backbone look like a studio film. It looks really good. How were you able to make a movie for less money that looks as good as any Hollywood film?
There’s a lot of lessons I learned by making Mimic. I’m thankful for Mimic. I learned a lot about technique and new toys and new camera rigs and simple digital effects and I applied all of that in a much smaller budget of less than 6 million dollars. Most people think that when you do a movie that you’re not happy with, it’s a bad thing. I think I learned much more from doing Mimic than doing Cronos, not only in terms of valuing my creative freedom, but also as being demanded by the studio, to try new stuff. They pushed me to try new stuff, and I realized I was good at certain things that I never tried. It widened my range of camera moves and storytelling. So you can learn more from a hard experience than a nice one.

What were some specific techniques that you learned to make Devil’s Backbone for less money and look so good?
I learned that you could utilize far more temp effects and they would still look as good, ultimately, if you kept them in the dark and used them creatively. We did stuff that was slapped together, sometimes, but it looked good. I understood the value of a free-roaming camera. One of the things that I do like about Mimic is the camera style, and it’s very much applied to Devil’s Backbone. And this is a direct result of the studio telling me, “Move the camera around.” And I started moving it without rhyme or reason, and then I learned a new way of telling the story. Devil’s Backbone has that fluid camera that becomes like a voyeur. Every time you push your muscles past what you feel comfortable with, its’ really useful. Like Blade 2 was a shoot that I was nervous about, with these big action scenes. But after enjoying it so much, I’m not afraid of any sequence, technically that you might throw at me. I’m not prudish about writing any kind of crazy crap and trying to make it real. And again, all of this can be applied to a lower budget movie in the future.

After seeing your movie, I thought of Amenabar’s The Others, with Nicole Kidman. Here’s a Spanish language director making an English language thriller, which was largely successful. Are you at all concerned about the audience for Devil’s Backbone being limited because it is in Spanish?
It will be an arthouse movie, most probably. In Spain, the movie was a huge box office hit—for a Spanish movie. But The Others made 10 times the movie because it was an American movie. But the equation doesn’t add up that way in my head. I’d rather communicate the right story to a lesser number of people than the wrong story to a larger number of people. I’m sure Amenabar, being as smart as he is, made the movie he wanted. Because his strategy was flawless. He made the movie in Spain with his people, his technical crew, his producer. So he essentially kept control. I didn’t do that on Mimic, and I doubt most “imported” directors can try it, but he was smart about it.

I want to reiterate how good your movie looks, and I wanted to ask you about creating the film with a Spanish crew verses the kinds of crews you’ve worked with in Hollywood?
There’s not much of a difference. I bust my ass for the movies I do to, at least, look really good. I try to make them gorgeous and I try to make them look big, within their budget, but it’s all about communication with the crew. I create these significant memos where I describe the color palette of the movie and this is why. These are the shades of the movie and this is why. And these are the types of filters we’re going to experiment with and this is why. Then I talk to my DP and my wardrobe designer, and production designer and my art director—those are the four points of the entire structure. And as long as those four are working together, the movie will have a single voice. So I try to implement them and make the communication between the departments good. And that’s it. If you have a clarity of a vision, then it looks twice as good, because there’s a concept behind it.

How do you feel being compared to Alfred Hitchcock?
I have the same pants size. I’m a 52. We’re both Catholic and repressed and we like to murder people.

I mention it because you seem to have a very confident and thorough sense of your filmmaking. To trust your decisions must be the hardest thing.
In life it is, in life, it’s a fucking hell, but I find that you should place all your bets on red and don’t chicken out. You’re betting the movie, but you have to be ballsy enough. That’s why tests are important. We test the effect of this thing or that thing, and then you fly by the seat of your pants. Alejandro Jodorowsky, the director of Santa Sangre, has what he calls the panic method: the man intellectualizes what he’s going to do a lot, but then he just goes crazy on it and goes by instinct. It’s almost like you’re channeling the movie. I say, a director is not God; he’s just the Pope. You’re truly channeling something else. You’re not talking, the movie is. If you understand that position, there comes a moment when your decisions become organic. Just try to serve the movie, as opposed to: how brilliant I am because I chose this shade of red.

So now what are you doing?
I have two options, one in English, which is called Mephisto’s Bridge, the story of a billboard designer that sells his soul to the devil. It’s my metaphor for my experiences in Hollywood. And the other one is a small movie called An Honest Man, which I’m writing for Federico Luppi, who plays a meek office employee that murders his entire office in order to preserve his reputation as a good accountant. Those are the two prospects. I hope I can do either of them.

You must be excited to go back to that after doing Blade?
Oh, yes, very much so. Having enjoyed Blade, I am very curious about going back and enjoying again a movie that I control completely. All I want in this life is that for people who don’t like anything in my movies to blame it completely on me.

 
Guillermo del Toro’s historical thriller and supernatural horror film The Devil’s Backbone is clearly the work of a film artist with an immense imagination. But according to the writer-director, it was also inspired by a real-life experience that haunts him to this day. In this online-exclusive video courtesy of the Criterion Collection, del Toro describes the moment in his childhood when he believes he first had an encounter with a ghost, and reveals its connection to the melancholy child phantom he created for The Devil’s Backbone, known as “the one who sighs.”

 
“I also use storyboards when I’m shooting. I call it the poor man’s Avid. Because I can edit on the page while I’m shooting. If I have sixteen or twenty setups I can put them all out on a sheet of paper and decide if I want to go from this one to that one, or if I have to skip one—you know, as time gets tighter. Storyboards are a great tool for making decisions like that.” —Guillermo del Toro


 

GUILLERMO NAVARRO, AMC, ASC

“Del Toro and I don’t have to look at other movies or pictures in books when we are planning a film. We come from the same country and culture, and we have been working together for 15 years. We have sort of grown together in how we think and express ourselves visually. We spoke about our ideas and drew a lot of pictures.” —Guillermo Navarro

 
¿Que es un fantasma?, a 2004 making-of documentary about the conception and production behind the film.

 
Behind the creation of the ghost from The Devil’s Backbone.

 

ADVENTURES IN MOVIEGOING WITH GUILLERMO DEL TORO

In visually daring phantasmagorias like Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone, and Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro transfixes audiences with a unique brand of gothic storytelling that interweaves the personal and the historical. In addition to being one of our most inventive contemporary auteurs, he is also an ardent and vocal movie lover who never hesitates to share the cinematic experiences and influences that have made him the artist he is today. Over on the Criterion Channel, their latest episode of Adventures in Moviegoing features del Toro in conversation with Mythbusters’ Adam Savage, discussing everything from the director’s love for genre filmmaking to his intimate connection to his homeland. In the clip below, he recounts what it was like to grow up in Mexico and discover Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver at a young age. Watch the full video now on the Channel, and dive into the nine films that del Toro has selected to accompany the program, including mind-bending works by Jean Cocteau, Terry Gilliam, and Luis Buñuel.

 
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone. Photographed by Miguel Bracho, David Muñoz & Ignacio Salazar-Simpson © El Deseo, Tequila Gang, Sogepaq, Canal+ España, Anhelo Producciones. Intended for editorial use only. All material for educational and noncommercial purposes only.

 
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