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Venice rewards a love story between a mute woman and a river monster

Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water won the Golden Lion, the top prize at the Venice Film Festival. As we have reviewed here, it is a love story between a river monster and a mute woman who works as a cleaning lady at a U.S. military facility in Baltimore.


A team has captured a monster from the Amazon River who they want to use in the space race against the Soviet Union in some unexplained way. The Soviets have just sent dog Laika to space, so the Americans —we are led to believe— are going to send the monster. Until they decide they will not and want to get rid of the creature before the Russians get him.

You know how the movie will end from minute 10 into it. It’s your time and money if you want to see it. As for the jury, they will probably have to respond to history but not to critics, who have incredibly acclaimed a film that runs on clichés and commonplaces and, yes, stupendous photography and all the fancy production that money can buy. Yet another proof that the world has lost its way.

The jury partly made up for that massive lapse in good judgment by awarding the Grand Jury Prize to Samuel Maoz’z Foxtrot, a masterpiece of a movie that ended up being the runner up. There is still some hope in humanity and that in the end, reason will prevail.

Indeed, insiders are commenting that jurors were struggling to pick the winner out of a pool of very close contestants in terms of quality. Festival organizers were happy that the movie that took the top award will probably be a ticket box success on the other side of the Atlantic. That, they believe, will boost the festival’s reputation in Hollywood. In our opinion, Downsizing and Suburbicon were firm contenders that somehow did not make it. Everybody who has taken a first date to a movie praised by critics knows it can be a hit or miss affair. But perhaps things are changing, now that critics are falling for love stories with aquatic monsters.