Zampano, one of the reasons you may find the dialogue laughable is because all of his films are broad comedies.
Maddin’s world is one of burlesque camp, not piercing drama or depth.
I’m glad Maddin exists too. He enriches cinema by his mere presence, and his films are both inspirational and creatively fulfilling. The visuals are shockingly faithful and striking, especially when you compare something like Careful to the 20s Mountain films he’s referencing. To say that his ‘silent film quality’ is poor is ridiculous, considering he’s using the same technology that silent filmmakers were using. I think you’re uncomfortable about something in his films and coloring everything he’s done with the same brush, saying that it’s all bad, every aspect. Which is pretty much an indefensible stance, considering that if only on a surface level he’s a remarkably interesting filmmaker.
Yes Guy Maddin is pretentious, thats why hes included on this website. Theres a debatable amount of snobbishness in every film worth examining. That doesn’t mean the stuff isn’t interesting or good, its just esoteric. Rarely will a filmmaker who is known for experimenting enjoy universal acclaim. Who cares if you don’t like him, I’m sure he wouldn’t like you either.
“Honestly, Guy Madden sucks, and I am happy that such a director exists. I can differentiate more easily between people that actually appreciate film and people that are swayed by unambitious dribble with an easily accepted appeal.”
Oh how ironic. You call Maddin pretentious but then you go and say that I and many others don’t appreciate film because we happen to like Maddin. I can understand you not liking his films but insulting people because they happen to appreciate Guy and because they think he is a filmmaker of great passion is just plain rediculous.
i’m sorry roger i thought that i wasnt the first person here to dislike a filmmaker on the autuers. I guess next time you try to state your opinion on a filmmaker i’ll just butt in with a “who cares.”
Those are the most anoying topic posts ever. If you dont care about the thread, don’t post anything. It’s so easy to judge someone on a film board for ANYTHING they post. I could probably reply to every thread on the website with “who cares this discussion is a waste of time.” and it is, it’s all a big waste of time to sit on a forum and talk about movies. Almost as much of a waste of time as say…watching movies. I have wasted so much of my time watching movies, and so have many people on this site. But it was all time worth wasting. I enjoy wattching movies and i enjoy talking about movies and bashing movies, we all do.
So please, stop pretending that you are the voice reason. It’s a film discussion board, there’s going to be opinions, and you wont like some of them. But by making your post completly state the obvious (ie: “Theres a debatable amount of snobbishness in every film worth examining. That doesn’t mean the stuff isn’t interesting or good, its just esoteric. Rarely will a filmmaker who is known for experimenting enjoy universal acclaim.”) is so fucking arbitrary.
It’s no insult, William. I’m just stating my opinion…though it may sound "re"diculous.
I’m at a loss for words. I really want to respond to this thread, but I’ve rewritten my response something like five times already.
Really, I honestly think that the Maddin detractors on this thread simply don’t share his sense of humor. I honestly and truly believe it just comes down to that. There are a lot of arguments that go deeper than that, and I really, really don’t want to stick my foot in my mouth, but I don’t see this debate going further than that. I find him funny; others, apparently, do not. Fair enough. However, calling Maddin pretentious is really pretentious, because it sets up a pretense that he’s trying something more meaningful than he actually is, or that he should, which isn’t the case. Saying that his technique or approach lacks meaning is both missing the meaning it does have (re: the anachronism) and claiming that it is supposed to have more meaning than it does (which it doesn’t have to have).
Once again I question the rigor of the criticism on this site. What do you actually want from Guy Maddin? He really seems to be doing his own thing, and if you don’t like it, you don’t like it, but to remove any thing he does from his work or to ask for something else is to, basically, just not like Guy Maddin’s personal voice. And as has already been noted, Guy Maddin is just about the least pretentious person you can come across—thus so’s his work, thus so’s his art, because all of those things are the way he expresses his personality.
This comment: “Maddin does know these old films inside out and can even duplicate
their technique with uncanny verisimilitude.
His approach is avant-garde/post-modernist with tongue firmly in cheek.”
I concur about his technical virtuosity in achieving verisimilitude, if you are referring strictly to
the mechanics and materiality of his films.
They are marvelous to behold, in that respect.
Regrettably, you are also correct about the tongue-in-cheek business.
The scripts are textbook examples of pure camp.
Camp humor can be lazy and clumsy, and it certainly is in Maddin’s case.
Yet the worst aspect of his camp approach is that there is no element of surprise.
It’s all tedious and predictable, and about as fresh as vaudeville.
In short, every wonderful visual jolt that his camera provides gets undermined by a joke or sly, campy
bit of dialog that we can see coming a mile away.
Heart of the World is the only instance in which Maddin avoids that pitfall,
and his success may very well derive from the film’s short length.
@ Everyone on the board especially Jasper Bleu
I was going to read this thread, and then i read the first post.
“Well, besides Harmony Korine, that is.”
Now why is it that WHEN EVER there is a filmmaker who goes outside the box, and trys to expand the art of filmmaking into new territory, an overwhelming number of “cinephiles” start saying that the director is a hack, or is over rated, or can’t direct? And yet these same people say they LOVE Godard, Pasolini, etc. I would bet money that if those same people were around when Griffiths, Godard, or any other filmmaker that changed filsm form came around, they would ridicule them too, and that it is only with time, and an overwhelming majority of film lovers before them that approved these directors. What the fuck? This makes me wonder if those same people actually like Pasolini, Godard etc or if they just say they do.
All I can say is that I didn’t really care for My Winnipeg. I was bored and felt that the material would have been better suited for his diary as a sort of self-therapy.
I love Guy Maddin. If I hated him even 1/2 as much or 2x as much I doubt it would ever occur to me that I might be the only one. Maybe this poster is insecure enough to make a film of his own.
I’ll take Guy Maddin’s pretentions over Christopher Nolan’s any day.
I’ve only seen “Brand Upon the Brain” and it didn’t do anything for me. I thought I would because I loved Le Jetee, and thought this would be similar in style and technique. Can anyone recommend to me another that may change my mind?
A short Maddin primer: “The Heart of the World”.
His oeuvre is a craggy, misty, offbeat cave that’s easy-to-miss in the canyon of cinema. It’s a great place, though, to picnic with cinephiles.
@Cineaste – I think of it as a whisper in a slot canyon!
@Lester B. – Did you watch the Bonus Features on “Brand…”? The Foley doc was one of my favorites, but the interview w/Guy was pretty endearing. Try “Careful”.
What made you think that BRAND UPON THE BRAIN was going to be similar in style and technique to LA JETEE?
I have to admit that BRAND UPON THE BRAIN does not work on video nearly as well as it did on a big screen with live band, Foley sound effects and narrator.
@ROSCOE, I was about to ask you about seeing the film with live band and then I remembered that all questions are answered by a simple visit to youtube:
Must have been quite an interesting show.
I can take or leave Maddin films, but I wouldn’t call him a pretentious filmmaker at all. I think he’s a serious artist who has found a unique style of working with very limited budgets.
I think his stuff is usually way too tongue-in-cheek to be interpreted as pretentious. Anyways Maddin and Korine are truly unique and among my favorites.
I think his more “personal” films (Brand Upon the Brain and My Winnipeg mostly) go beyond camp and tongue-in-cheek, as several have described his films as in previous posts, and move into a realm that I think shows some of the most personal and well-crafted films in North American cinema today.
There are definitely tons of layers and intertexts and self-referential humor in all of his films that can make them seem quite unwilling to provide a graspable “way in” for the viewer, but I think this kind of “difficulty” is absolutely necessary in any work of art today, or whatever you’d like to call it.
So, the “problem” with camp that Doctor Lemonglow was talking about in an earlier post for me is only another way to engage the spectator and not make things so easy, rather than merely being naive kitsch or “textbook” reproductions.
Wow, I definitely used way to many “this is not really the word I’m looking for” or “this is overused” quotes.
I haven’t seen any of Maddin’s films.
That being said, I agree with Berjuan’s assertion that it is pointless to work almost exclusively in this kind of an outdated fashion.
As Berjuan said, the use of title cards and tinting were a necessity because of lack of sound and color film stock. The great silent films are great not because they are silent, but because they look amazing-and this look can be carried over to sound and color films, as Von Stroheim and Eisenstein did, for example without losing any of what made it great in a silent film.
The only lesson that should be learned, or relearned from silent film, is that you don’t have to have so much d@mn talking in a movie, and that images can and should be allowed to speak for themselves. Silent films, though, were not devoid of talking, they just used title cards, but the better ones used them more sparingly and let the images tell the story.-That is the most important thing, and really the only thing that we need to learn about silent era technique.