Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bava Book at the Saturn Awards

Last Tuesday, June 24, Donna and I were in Los Angeles to attend the 34th Annual Saturn Awards and to accept the Saturn Award for Special Achievement for our work on MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK. The award was presented to us by John Saxon, the star of Bava's seminal giallo LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO, aka THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1963), aka EVIL EYE. John's speech was exceptional and both it and our acceptance speech was recorded. We'll be posting it, or a link to it, here in the days ahead.

It was a mind-blowing evening: after making our acceptance speech, we were whisked backstage to be photographed and interviewed and, as we made our way toward the press area, we passed Ray Wise who was waiting to present one of the other awards. I only had time to shake his hand, stammer "You are one of my favorites," and move on. The star of one of the greatest horror films of the last twenty years -- TWIN PEAKS FIRE WALK WITH ME -- and I had to keep moving.

But it got still more surreal. When Guillermo del Toro (winner of this year's George Pal Memorial Award) showed up at the after-party, he gave me a big hug the moment he saw my face and kept numerous interviewers and other people waiting for a moment of his time as he talked to Donna, Charlie Largent and me about how important he believes the Bava book to be.

I didn't have a tape recorder running, but he said something very like: "To my mind, the two greatest film books of all are HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT and yours, ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK. These books are incredible not only for the way they discuss movies, but for the way they convey the sheer love of movies. When I read your book -- and I have two copies, one to read and one to keep -- it makes me want to get off my ass and get out there and shoot a fucking movie!" And now there's an online audio interview with Guillermo by Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere, in which he says something similar at 27:28-47. Thanks to correspondent William D'Annucci for letting me know about it.
Guillermo and I are a mutual admiration society. In an age when all films are relentlessly stylized and visual, his films stand almost alone in earning the right to tell stories in those terms. He has a command of visual magic of the sort that drew me to Bava's work, moreso than any other filmmaker working today; if Bava has any true disciple among contemporary filmmakers, it's Guillermo del Toro. Donna and I saw a trailer for HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY at the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles and were dazzled by its ingeniously designed monsters and miraculous images. We can't wait to see it.
I'm also happy to note that Anchor Bay Entertainment's THE MARIO BAVA COLLECTION, VOLUMES 1 and 2 won in the Best DVD Collection category. Producer Alfredo Leone accepted the award, and it was a pleasure to hug him after the ceremony in acknowledgement of our mutual success at making Mario Bava one of the most prominent figures in the past year of fantastic cinema -- almost 30 years after his untimely death.

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