Friday, April 3, 2009

Who is Guy Maddin?

He's a film director and his films look fascinating. Ordering the DVDs for the library has brought to my attention films and filmmakers previously unknown to me, and Guy Maddin is one I'm excited to learn more about. And guess what? He will be in Champaign April 23rd for Ebert's Film Festival.

Quick side note--though the Ebertfest passes are sold out, tickets for individual films go on sale this coming Monday, April 7. Call the Virginia Theater if there's anything you'd like to see.

I'm hoping to get a pair of tickets for Maddin's My Winnipeg. To explain why, take a look at Ebert's write up or watch the trailer.

Maybe you agree with me that this looks fun and interesting. And if that's the case, you may also share my interest in checking out some of Maddin's other films. We have three DVDs in our collection I plan to watch to tide me over until the 23rd.

Guy Maddin's Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, Archangel, The Heart of the World. Three films in one...kind of--The Heart of the World is a six minute parody of Soviet propaganda films. Twilight of the Ice Nymphs and Archangel are both feature length. I'd love to tell you a bit about Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, but no one seems to know what it is about--be safe and approach this one as an art exhibit, as many seem to love the look and feel of the film if nothing else. Archangel does have a story involving three characters in a love triangle, but may or may not know it as they tend not to recognize one another.

The Saddest Music in the World. During the Great Depression, a beer baroness offers a $25,000 prize for whoever can find the saddest music in the world. Sounds somewhat straightforward, if a bit odd, but it gets odder still. While Maddin is said to have taken inspiration from silent film and its creators, these characters would feel natural in a David Lynch film. The baroness has no legs. One performer is an amnesiac who gets advice from her tapeworm. Another performer is the man responsible for the car accident that caused the baroness to lose her legs. I'm interested, yet somewhat frightened to see this one--that's usually a good thing in my experience.

Brand Upon the Brain! This one sounds most similar to My Winnipeg in that it's faux autobiographical. Guy Maddin returns to the Canadian island where his parents ran an orphanage in a light house. He's repainting the light house at the request of his dying mother, and this triggers strange childhood memories. Did his parents experiment on the orphans they were supposed to be caring for? Dunno. I'll have to watch it and see--or not, as the case will likely be. I don't expect this film to be easily understandable, but I do expect it to be beautiful and challenging to watch.

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