The Heart of the World (2000) is a brilliantly made short film. It is both a spoof and a loving recreation of Soviet silent film. It is also an inventive movie in its own right. It is so full of images, one rapidly following the other in montage style, that it feels like it has the imagery and storytelling of a much longer movie.
The Heart of the World echoes a number of specific Russian silent films. Its science fiction plot recalls Jacob Protazanov’s Aelita, Queen of Mars (1924), although the two plots are very different in detail. So do its scenes of the heroine looking through a telescope. As in Protazanov’s film, this is an elaborate piece of machinery.
The sinister industrialist in The Heart of the World recalls the similarly caricatured businessman in Sergei Eisenstein’s Strike (1924).
The dynamic, brilliantly pulsing montage of The Heart of the World seems patterned after Dziga Vertov’s The Man With a Movie Camera (1929). The Heart of the World ends with a celebration of cinema, with characters holding up big banners and saying “Kino”, the Russian word for film. This celebration of film is one of the main subjects of The Man With a Movie Camera. And the score of The Heart of the World spoofs the celebrated score written by the Alloy Orchestra for The Man With a Movie Camera.
There are non-Russian silent films echoed here as well. The elaborate shadows on the wall recall such German Expressionist films as Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922). And the title echoes D. W. Griffith’s Hearts of the World (1918). The long cannon barrel through which the heroine climbs recalls the diagrammatic chute in Roland West’s expressionistic thriller, The Bat (1926). —Mikegrost.com
Frequently referred to as “the Canadian David Lynch,” Winnipeg-born filmmaker Guy Maddin’s surreal, dreamlike works are often cited for their striking visuals and obscure sensibilities. Maddin’s father was a prominent hockey coach and manager, and his mother the proprietor of a local beauty shop, and both of his parents’ careers had a profound effect on the young filmmaker. Whether watching the teams practice at Winnipeg Arena or playing with his friends at his mother’s salon, Maddin’s unique take on everyday eccentricities was fueled by numerous unforgettable childhood experiences. Two of these, in particular, were a piggyback ride from Bing Crosby and the advancement of a common cold into an intense neurological disorder that resulted in strange physical sensations; these experiences gave the imaginative youngster an acute and unique view of the world. Childhood memories and stories passed on by his parents have frequently found their way into Maddin’s unique films as well, with the… read more