News

Art-house filmmaker is just a Guy from Winnipeg

Steven Rea
The Philadelphia Inquirer (MCT)

A self-confessed "part-time surrealist," Guy Maddin has made weird little art-house gems that include "Careful" (1992), about townsfolk creeping around on tiptoe, speaking in hushed tones for fear of an impending avalanche, and "The Saddest Music in the World" (2003), a Depression-era tale of a brewery heiress (Isabella Rossellini) and her melancholy song contest.

His latest, "My Winnipeg," is something else again. Maddin calls it a "docu-fantasia." Canada's now-defunct documentary channel asked the director if he would be interested in doing something about his hometown - the midsized, mid-Canadian city - and Maddin said yes.

"I was urged to make it a personal one, not a real travelogue," he explained on the phone from Toronto recently. "I had never had any interest in making documentaries, there's too much work involved - objectivity, scientific detachment, all that - but when I was told to make it personal, I knew I could conduct all my research within my own heart, and so away I went. I just started walking the dog and daydreaming, coming back with some notes, and before I knew it I had enough material for Winnipeg Alexanderplatz. ... I easily could have had 16 hours of stuff."

The version Maddin made for theaters, however, is a mere 80 minutes - 80 minutes of fact and fiction, of '40s B-movie starlet Ann Savage playing Maddin's mom, of haunting images of frozen horses trapped in ice, of homeless people sleeping on skyscraper roofs, of Nazis trooping through downtown, as if Hitler had won the war. It is, like most of Maddin's work, dreamlike and deliriously odd.

"I can never seem to entirely wake up, nor do I want to," Maddin says. "There's just so much truth in everything you dream because your dreams ... come from within you, exclusively, and so they're true expressions of something.

"You can never quite figure out exactly what, but if you sort through them you sometimes find echoes and themes that actually help you make a little bit of sense of what you were dreaming."

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Film

On Infinity in Miranda July's 'Me and You and Everyone We Know'

In a strange kind of way, Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know is about two competing notions of "forever" in relation to love.

Music

Considering the Legacy of Deerhoof with Greg Saunier

Working in different cities, recording parts as MP3s, and stitching them together, Deerhoof once again show total disregard for the very concept of genre with their latest, Future Teenage Cave Artists.

Music

Joshua Ray Walker Is 'Glad You Made It'

Texas' Joshua Ray Walker creates songs on Glad You Made It that could have been on a rural roadhouse jukebox back in the 1950s. Their quotidian concerns sound as true now as they would have back then.

Music

100 gecs Remix Debut with Help From Fall Out Boy, Charli XCX and More

100 gecs' follow up their debut with a "remix album" stuffed with features, remixes, covers, and a couple of new recordings. But don't worry, it's just as blissfully difficult as their debut.

Television

What 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Taught Me About Unlearning Toxic Masculinity

When I first came out as trans, I desperately wanted acceptance and validation into the "male gender", and espoused negative beliefs toward my femininity. Avatar: The Last Airbender helped me transcend that.

Playlists

Rock 'n' Roll with Chinese Characteristics: Nirvana Behind the Great Wall

Like pretty much everywhere else in the pop music universe, China's developing rock scene changed after Nirvana. It's just that China's rockers didn't get the memo in 1991, nor would've known what to do with it, then.

Film

Creative Disruption in 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire'

Portrait of a Lady on Fire yearns to burn tyrannical gendered tradition to ash and remake it into something collaborative and egalitarian.

Music

Fave Five: The Naked and Famous

Following two members leaving the group in 2018, synthpop mavens the Naked and Famous are down to a duo for the first time ever and discuss the records they turned to help make their aptly-named fourth record, Recover.

Evan Sawdey
Books

Fleetwood Dissects the European Mindset in His Moody, Disturbing Thriller, 'A Young Fair God'

Hugh Fleetwood's difficult though absorbing A Young Fair God offers readers a look into the age-old world views that have established and perpetuated cultural rank and the social attitudes that continue to divide us wherever we may reside in the world.

Music

Art Feynman Creates Refreshing Worldbeat Pop on 'Half Price at 3:30'

On Half Price at 3:30, Art Feynman again proves himself adept at building colorful worlds from unexpected and well-placed aural flourishes.

Music

The Beths Are Sharp As Ever on 'Jump Rope Gazers'

New Zealand power-poppers the Beths return with a sophomore album that makes even the most senior indie-rock acts feel rudimentary by comparison.

Music

Jessie Ware Returns to Form on 'What's Your Pleasure'

On What's Your Pleasure, Jessie Ware returns to where it all began, the dance floor.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.