Thursday, July 03, 2008

I am a bit sad that My Winnipeg won’t be coming to Anchorage anytime soon, if at all, which is a more probable case. I’m not sure I completely understand and appreciate Guy Maddin’s films yet (or if I will ever), but I get a great deal from them, am never bored, am always excited to find something new in a subsequent viewing, and eager to digest the new stuff whenever he releases it. He never wastes my time and keeps my mind engaged. Isn’t that high praise?

My initial exposure was at a Saturday matinee at the Music Box in Chicago. I saw The Heart of the World first and was completely blown away. For a sub 10 minute film it offers more to digest and appreciate than most good full length releases. After that short they started the feature, which was appropriately Archangel. It was a bit hard follow, though the sense of the famous Maddin love triangle and the complete submersion in pre WW2 film making was easy to accept. I have not watched that movie a second time, but I strongly remember the theme of memory, how to trust it, when not to, and the way it all meshes into one continuous experience in our minds. I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest if another viewing garnered a completely different reaction, but the sense of distrusting memory sticks in my mind right now.

A few years later Holly got me into a screening of The Saddest Music in the World at Facets where wonderfully Guy himself was present to take some questions and give some thoughts. That movie had the omnipresent Maddin love triangle, though its plot was easy to follow. Given his œuvre one would expect a weird cat visually, or at least a personality similar to a stoned Crispin Glover -- Not the case at all. He seemed like an everyday middle aged Canadian, albeit one with a tremendous knowledge of depression era films. I remember him being presented with the giddy and pregnant question of: “What new movies do you seek out?” He kind of shrugged and said something to the effect of “all the new stuff, the blockbusters, whatever. I love movies and being entertained.” I suspect he broke some hipster hearts on that one. Maybe going to the big budget movies is a pallet cleanser for him, maybe he wants to answer a question like that in a general way to keep his contemporary inspirations close to his vest, or maybe he just doesn’t worry too much about modern film beyond what he’s doing himself. Who knows, but he seemed like a regular guy that happens to be an amazing artist.

Living in Wisconsin forced me to miss the Brand Upon the Brain performances. As great as Bear Tooth is, they probably won’t be getting My Winnipeg, but it will be on dvd someday soon and there is a rumor that Anchorage now has a Netflix hub (2 day turnaround on most discs they say!).

Something about the trailer makes me think about the southside…

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