GDT on Ghosts, Death, Religion, and the Movies

Every once in a while I stumble onto a truly great Del Toro interview. I found one today that I absolutely love. Please click over to Pixel Vision and read the full interview, preferably on a comfy sofa with a cup of gourmet coffee. For any GDT fan, it is a wonderful read.

If you don’t have the time, here are a few of my favorite moments, posted here just in case the interview goes offline one day.

GDT on the Paranormal
You realize a lot of what animals do naturally; humans do through two levels of thought. One is conscious and the other unconscious or subconscious. Animals don’t have that problem, they have just one single ball of thought or a single ball of being. Our problem is that we divide things that may be instinctive and collective and we have compartmentalized our perception so strongly that we only get them in glimpses and I think this is where the idea of the Jungian archetype comes to work. We all have these images that can recur and that’s where people talk about angel visitations, alien abductions and fairy visitations all being one and the same with different types of logic working from different cultures. I believe that there is a whole dimension that I wouldn’t call supernatural but “supranatural,” that I believe in. I believe I saw my mother walk past our living room. My father and brother and I saw her four hours before she arrived home because she had missed her plane in another city. That astral projection all three of us saw. I saw a UFO once and I know it was a UFO because it was not a normal plane or Venus or Mars or anything like that, it was [irrefutable]. I know there are things that you shouldn’t deny until you experience them, so I have a very magical, experimental sense of the world.

GDT on Death
I hate facing the death of another. I can’t stand somebody else’s pain. I can stand my own very well and I can stand my death. We all have a list of things to do in life: sorry man, but that includes dying. So, you go through life putting your shoes on, taking a cab; at one point you’re going to have to check (makes check sign with finger) dying, and it’s as important as taking a cab – to me. So, in that I believe that I’m immortal, because I don’t give a crap about death anymore. I used to be obsessed with dying and upset about death, but there came a point in my life after the kidnapping of my father that I started relinquishing all that. I said “not important anymore” and I’m at peace. I think the true concept of a miracle, as I annunciate in Cronos, the true concept of immortality is not caring how you die. The true concept of Pan’s Labyrinth is not about dying but about rebirth: she’s reborn, that’s why the blood is there. People say, in western culture, blood means death, but to me it means life – someone is starting to live again. And that’s why the film is so full of maternal and birthing and fallopian, almost uterine, imagery.

Politics as Fantasy
When you’re arguing about whose side of the concept is better – politics are completely a fabrication. I was talking the other day to Neil Gaiman. He said to me, “You realize, don’t you, that we are at war? The pope is at war with many religions as to whose imaginary friend is strongest.” I think that’s a great way of putting it. I mean my imaginary friend is stronger than yours? It’s all cosmologies that we fabricate or chose to believe in. I don’t think one is inherently wrong or one is inherently right. I think that we as humans tend to fabricate things to keep us apart and I believe it’s just as easy to believe in the things that unite us. I believe it’s a defect of mammalian territoriality to invent those borders. So yes, politics, borders, geography, time, space: it’s all a fabrication. To me it’s all perception. All fabrication is a form of imagination.

GDT on Success
I always say that success is not measured by outcome. Success is measured by fucking up in your own terms. That’s success. Trying and failing: that’s success. We live in a world where we say: which movie succeeded this year? “Well this one made $300 million, this movie made $1 million, so the one that made more was more successful.” Or: “This movie was critically praised, and this one was not, so the praised one was successful.” I don’t think so. Success doesn’t have to do with how many people a film connects with but how deeply it connects with them. How that movie becomes a tool for them to construct their philosophy, cosmology and reality. That’s success for a movie. And if it reaches a lot of people deeply, that’s great, but if it makes one person unable to leave the theatre because that person’s crying; that’s success.
G: You make it sound like a religious experience.
GDT: It is! We don’t go to church on Sunday: we go to the movies. So, when you go to the movies and you get the same crappy old sermon, you get angry. You go, “What a piece of shit!”
G: The world’s bigger than that.
GDT: The world is. But when you go to the church, or the movies, and you get a fresh perspective on an intimate truth, you come out of the theatre converted: believing again in the power of movies. It’s a religious experience and an intimate experience and that’s why when we don’t like a movie we get that pissed off and when we like it we get so jazzed.

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