Guy Maddin is a really weird director -- he is best known for making silent, black-and-white movies in the German expressionist style, with weird symbolism and title cards. And "The Quintessential Guy Maddin! 5 Films from the Heart of Winnipeg" brings together five of his best works, ranging from a vampiric ballet to mad peephole tales.
"Cowards Bend the Knee" is... about "Guy Maddin" (Darcy Fehr). No, not the director, but a hockey player who falls in love with a weird girl named Meta, who lives at a hair-salon/abortion clinic -- and finds himself in a strange world of ghosts, severed arms and revenge. "Careful" explores the bizarre repression in the tiny town of Tolzbad, and what happens when their repression springs a leak.
Then there's "Twilight of the Ice Nymphs," an eerie little fairytale centering on a beautiful woman and an ostrich farm. "Archangel" is a strange little story set in post-World War I Russia.... in a town that nobody has notified of the war's end! Love, amnesia, and general weirdness ensue. Finally, "Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary" sets Bram Stoker's classic novel to ballet and music, with a special emphasis on the ill-fated Lucy.
Guy Maddin is perfect for anybody who is sick'n'tired of Hollywood's mindless blockbusters, romcoms and remakes. Absolutely NOTHING is normal or predictable in these films, and he crams it full of bizarre situations and characters that could never fit into a "normal" movie. It's like someone dug up a canister of century-old film directed by a madman on acid.
Maddin has a very distinctive style. Crackling with faux-age, cobwebbed and manically surreal, these movies revel in the old-timey cinematic conceits like uber-closeups, iris-ins, and jerky manic acting that makes up for the usually silent filmmaking. And the plots are BIZARRE. Here's a glimpse of just how bizarre Maddin can get -- a guy dumps his girlfriend mid-abortion (she dies) to chase a girl who will only get involved with him if he has her dad's hands grafted onto his arms. Yeah.
In addition, this boxed set comes with a bunch of extras: five audio commentaries with Maddin, some short films, a documentary on Maddin's career, featurettes, interviews, designwork and storyboards, and "imagined audition reels" (whatever that means).
"The Quintessential Guy Maddin! 5 Films from the Heart of Winnipeg" is a delightfully warped, weird little world that sucks you in and doesn't let you go until it's over. Love it or hate it, you'll never forget it.