Cronos. 1993. Mexico. Written and directed by Guillermo del Toro. With Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook. 35mm. In Spanish; English subtitles. 92 min.
Del Toro’s first feature tells the story an old antiques dealer, Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi), who finds a “cronos machine,” an insectine mechanical device whose injections give Jesus eternal youth—and turn him into a vampire. He is pursued by the nephew (Ron Perlman) of a rich industrialist who believes he is the rightful owner of the cronos, and the film follows the chase. Central to the story is the relationship between Jesus and his granddaughter (Tamara Xanath), and the conflict between his personal need for fresh blood and keeping his family safe. Cronos establishes many of Del Toro’s cinematic preoccupations, and it’s the director’s first time working with Perlman, who would become a longtime collaborator and whose performances and stylistic choices have helped to shape Del Toro’s auteur vision. The film also sets up the familial themes that are key to understanding his body of work. Del Toro says, “To me, Cronos contains the essence of what I wanna do. I always was interested in the stories of familial relationships that are either decomposing or decomposed. The idea that the family either implodes and destroys itself or finds union in their imperfections is in every movie I’ve done” (Criterion Collection interview for Cronos, 2010).
Doña Lupe. 1985. Mexico. Written and directed by Guillermo del Toro. In Spanish; English subtitles. DCP. 30 min.
Geometria. 1987. Mexico. Directed by Guillermo del Toro. Written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, based on the short story “Naturally” by Fredric Brown. In Spanish; English subtitles. DCP. 7 min.