Alexandre Desplat has been writing music for films since the late 1980s, but his invasion of Hollywood began in 2003 with Girl with a Pearl Earring, which introduced his hypnotic, Gallic, and flute-friendly style. Since then, the French composer—a skilled flute-player himself, obsessed with film music since he was a young boy—has become one of the finest and most coveted composers in town. The latest auteur to crave Desplat’s elegant, neoclassical sound is Guillermo del Toro, the gothic Mexican director of Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth. Del Toro gave Desplat an interesting challenge: how would you score an adult fairy tale / Cold War noir thriller / erotic creature movie? That’s exactly what The Shape of Water is: an allegorical film, set in the 1950s but really set in the imagination of del Toro’s cinema-crowded mind, about a mute woman who works as a cleaner in a mysterious military lab… who falls in love with an exotic fish-like creature. It’s even stranger than it sounds, and, at least according to the Venice Film Festival who awarded it the Golden Lion—it’s a modern masterpiece.
From the Central Coast to San Diego, from Santa Monica to Palm Springs, there are fascinating people creating incredible art and performances. KUSC will be covering those experiences on Arts Alive. And when you’re in the mood for a little more, like a longer version of an interview, more Arts Alive coverage is available online at kusc.org/artsalive.