A bewildering documentary, part autobiography and part biography of the central Canadian city, with elements of magical realism (did the lake really flash freeze those horses?). Funny and moving, it relies on dreams (and the ways that dreams distort a remembered landscape) and an unreliable narrator for its fantastical elements. I also applaud the casting choice of Ann Savage, 60 years after appearance in 'Detour'.
In what does the essence of a place lie? This is such an enjoyable, funny, and well directed film- on the joys and sorrows of leaving home, a place you love, wish to protect, but also detest for what it’s become. On preserving what you love by filming and recreating it and making it timeless and permanent and glorified, when so much of it is destroyed. I love the mild satire and surrealism, and the poeticness!!
Rewatch. No doubt this is a feat of creation, a memory memoir, self-described docu-fantasia (which looks exactly like that sounds, as if dreams could be filmed). Now less caught up in the visual aura I wonder if the forks lead out of the fog, if the mythologising and self-exploration actualise to a meaningful examination of self in the same way it does place. But then again, to listen to Maddin talk all day...
I didn’t realize going into this that it was my 2nd time seeing it. The memories from my 1st time were mis-filed as my own half-remembered dreams and hypnogogic scraps. I genuinely thought parts of it were dreams I had had. It was kind of terrifying to rewatch . . . This is the magic of film, this is the medium given life. No CGI, no squibs, no choreographed violence and gasoline-fueled machines, no genre, just art.
Travel documentary as dreamscape from another galaxy, a horror film of a hometown narrative filled with sleepwalkers trying to wake up and escape the dark Maddin-minded madness of a city replete with scary ghosts (and orgy-like seances), sexual eccentricities, horses heads in ice, and a psychic mother reading your every thought. Maddin's use of silent-film devices provides the necessary distance from this crazy town.
I can get tired of how obsessive and circumscribed Maddin's vision is. Here, the obsessive quality spills out into new areas and it feels invigorating. Rather than an expressionistic rummaging through film history, this fluid mix of fact and fiction about Winnipeg history works like both a tone poem and documentary. Contemporary shots and archival photos complement the staged pieces well. Insightful and rewatchable.
Rewatched tonight @ TIFF, accompanied by Guy Maddin doing a live read of the narration. My memory's honestly terrible, so it struck me how many scenes my brain had actually stored intact as iconograhy: the ballet seance; the horse heads; the Black Tuesdays in a half-demolished rink.. Like Herzog's Antarctica doc, in that way. Not my favourite Maddin but it really did take root in me. Which was his goal, I think. 3.75
> Un imposant et foisonnant kaléidoscope d'histoires vécues, sublimées, narrées, dans une hyperbolique et vertigineuse construction cinématographique, avec ses reconstitutions jouées, ses images et photos d'archives, ses séquences d'animation et sa puissante et touchante poésie élégiaque font de cette œuvre hautement cathartique, un inoubliable moment de cinéma, intelligent, sensible et percutant.. www.cinefiches.com