Tuesday, June 24, 2008

His Winnipeg

Guy Maddin’s unlikely new “docu-fantasia” My Winnipeg opens at the SIFF Cinema on June 27th and runs for just one week.

My Winnipeg was commissioned by Canadian Television as a documentary, and in some ways it is. By all accounts, Winnipeg is a strange place to call home. But according to Maddin’s ironic, deadpan voiceover narration, it’s even stranger than you may have thought. In Maddin’s version of events, the following is true: Winnipeg is home to more sleepwalkers per capita than any other city in the world; the city includes a winter lake that eleven horses rode into, froze to death, and thus became a grotesque park of statues; a makeshift league of old hockey players, some of whom are dead, meets to play in the remains of a decrepit arena; the local Eaton’s department store once held a series of lascivious “Golden Boy Pageants” aimed, delicately, at the city’s homosexual population. And that ain’t all.

Maddin’s city myth fuses with his personal life as he re-creates key events and horrors of his childhood. As the title suggests, My Winnipeg is a personal, idiosyncratic account of an unusual city’s culture and resonance.

Maddin’s singular film technique – using deteriorated film stock and fuzzy visuals that often move slightly into and out of focus – lends itself surprisingly well to the world of Youtube. He has dozens of short films out there, all of them worth the 5 or 6 minutes that they ask. For example, here is Sombra Dolorosa, a four minute mini-epic in which an inconsolable Mexican widow must wrestle Death during a total eclipse. I wish I could post them all. Like his brain, Maddin’s Winnipeg is filled with quiet wonders and antiquated oddities so bizarre that they must be true. Even if they’re not.

3 comments:

Jay Andrew Allen said...

I'm looking forward to this. My wife got to see BRAND UPON THE BRAIN! with live orchestral accompaniment at TIFF two years ago, and was blown away.

g said...

I am so excited to see this film.

Anonymous said...

You know of course about the Saddest Music In The World then...or as the canadians say eh?

Paul Pauper