05 Nov From Cronos to Crimson Peak: Little White Lies Goes Gothic on Del Toro
British film magazine Little White Lies has made a point of stepping outside the boundaries of print. At 71a, a gallery hosted at its London offices, the magazine reaches its audience directly through live programming, which enables it to extend and explore each issue’s story. It’s a strategy that’s been extremely effective in helping the magazine develop a closer relationship with its readership; starting last year, it extended this mission with a series of successful exhibitions around the globe: in Austin, first, and then with sister magazine Huck in Brooklyn, Rio, and Munich. With the focus of its latest issue Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak, which hit theatres worldwide this October, Little White Lies wanted to keep its conversation about the film international — and the place they chose to do that was Johannesburg.
Del Toro’s creative process is famously centered around a very specific locale: a collection of books, movies, and curiosities that — following the Dickens novel by the same name — he calls “The Bleak House.” A new project begins with the systematic dis- and re-ordering of this library; and, in the process, he reengages with the stories contained in his collection. And as his books find their new neighbors, the attributes of each are at once clarified and combined, merging with those of his film, in a collaborative process he describes as “psycho magic.”
Poster for “Mimic,” by Laurène Boglio (France):
Fog hangs heavily over the gloom- and ghost-heavy manor house of Crimson Peak — the film is straight out of the pages of a Gothic romance. And here, the staff at Little White Lies saw an opportunity: if this is a director who begins a film with books, how might those books appear? What would Crimson Peak look like as the Victorian novel it pays such loving homage to? And, for that matter, what about Del Toro’s other films?
The results are on display until mid-November at The Bioscope: nine of Del Toro’s films reimagined as Gothic novels. Artists were chosen from both sides of the Atlantic, including Cape Town-based design studio MUTI, long-time Little White Lies and Huck-contributor. Screen printing was the chosen medium; the artists were selected both for their experience as printers, and for the flourishes that were characteristic of their work in the field. The exhibition captures a wide interpretative range: from the soft lines and dark floral inlays that Britain’s Sam Dunn chose for his cover of “Pan’s Labyrinth,” to the deco-ish patterning of Laurène Boglio’s “Mimic.” And as you’d expect for a show about the hand on the wheel of the “Hellboy” franchise, there’s a plenty of fire and brimstone to go around.
Poster for “Cronos,” by Luke Drozd (UK):
Their exhibition at The Bioscope may be a first for them in South Africa, but for Little White Lies, Joburg, as one of the world’s emerging centers of talent, and somewhere that doesn’t shy from opportunity, is a place to keep its eye on.
“I was in Johannesburg and I mentioned to Bioscope’s founders Russell Grant and Darryl Els that we were interested in doing an exhibition, and things just snowballed,” said D’Arcy Doran, head of content at the magazine.
“That’s another thing we love about South Africa: it’s a ‘Yes!’ kind of place.”
The Great Guillermo: From Cronos to Crimson Peak is on at The Bioscope from 28 October to the middle of November.
In descending order: “Blade II,” by Pedro Oyarbide (Spain); “Crimson Peak,” by Telegramme (UK); “Devil’s Backbone,” by Lola Beltran (Spain); “Hellboy,” by Christopher DeLorenzo (USA); “Hellboy II,” by MUTI (South Africa); “Pacific Rim,” by Drew Millward (UK); “Pan’s Labyrinth,” by Sam Dunn (UK):