The last movie we watch in my film studies class every spring is always whatever has won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year. This year we’re watching The Shape of Water. This is a really brilliant movie, and I have so many things I’m thinking about in response that I want to write a longer essay/article this summer. In the short term, just to give myself an outlet right away, I’m going to post small items I’ve noticed and am mulling over.
One thing I want to look at in this film is homage. I’ve written about “homage” before; you can read that post for additional background if you like (here, for example). If you read reviews of The Shape of Water, you can see that others have noted some of the more direct film references (like Elisa dancing with her mop à la Fred Astaire dancing with the coat rack in Royal Wedding). I’ll probably talk about those, too.
But today I just thought I’d post some screenshots of a little thing I noticed. Below is a screenshot from the Odessa Steps scene in Battleship Potemkin, Sergei Eisenstein’s 1927 classic portrayal of a real life massacre of innocent civilians by government troops as punishment for feeding the starving sailors out on the ship just beyond the docks. This is the mother whose baby carriage careens down the staircase after she is shot in the stomach. Note the close-up of her hands and the blood oozing out as she clutches herself.
The second is a screenshot from the last scene in The Shape of Water, where Elisa has been shot in the stomach by Colonel Strickland for trying to help the creature escape the torture he’s been enduring under the government’s (Strickland’s) authority. Note the placement of Elisa’s hands and the blood emerging from her wound as she presses against it with her fingers.
A really small thing, possibly coincidental but appearing quite obvious to me, especially when you consider the similar themes of the two films.
So that’s today’s post, nothing more than a snippet of something I’m thinking about as I continue to ruminate on Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece. Thanks for reading and thinking about it with me 🙂