A brilliant Terry Gross interview with El Laberinto del Fauno director Guillermo del Toro. This whole thing is so cool! Here is a filmmaker who has read everything.
Here's a fun bit:
TERRY: Can you talk a little bit about creating that kind of ugly fairy tale? ...the insect that she turns into a fairy. Were you surrounded by a lot of really big insects in Mexico?
GUILLERMO DEL TORO: Yes! And I'm not talking about the politicians, only. I really... When i was a kid, I used to spend a lot of time in my grandmother's garden and I would actually do insane stuff like I would spend hours watching an anthill. And I would try and recognize the ants from one another every day and of course the garden was full of insects and I would name them. I admired them. I think that they're present in most of my movies because I have such admiration--and fear of them.
. . .
TG: ...The princess of the underworld?
GDT: Of the underworld. I think that there's a point in our life when we're kids when literature and magic and fantasy has as strong a presence in our soul as religion would have in later days. You know, I think it's a spiritual reality as strong as when people say "I accept Jesus in my heart." Well, at a certain age I accepted monsters in my heart. The girl is basically sort of autobiographical.
TG: Well, I really understand what you're saying because for me the movie is about the stories that we have to tell ourselves to get through life and for a lot of people those stories are religious stories but for some people they're other stories: they're literature or fairy tales or whatever.
GDT: I think the entire world is fabricated...