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The Guy Maddin Collection (1990)

Cast: Kyle McCulloch, Kathy Marykuca, Sarah Neville, more...
Director: Guy Maddin
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Zeitgeist Video
Genre: Drama, Independent, WWII, Canada
Running Time: 181 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1997) drifts away from the familiar confines of the archaic film (it's shot in 35mm full colour with a contemporary aspect ratio and nary an intertitle) and into the deep waters of language, and therefore decadence. The dialogues are drawn from the ascetic Knut Hamsun's Pan, then corrupted by dollops of Prosper Merimée. The theatrical decors are inspired by fevered Gustave Moreau. [Screenwriter and longtime collaborator George] Toles gave actors Frank Gorshin and Shelley Duvall plenty to say, and Maddin let them say it all as musically as possible. Very lush and full of ostriches! Has the strongest final reel in the auteur's filmography.

In Archangel (1990), all of Maddin's backward-gazing characters grope about in the murk of their memories in a sad attempt to regain loves and comforts lost. Archangel is a full-blown amnesia melodrama set deep in the confused winter immediately following the Great War -- the last war designed exclusively for the pleasure of children. (The uniforms worn in battle made all the combatants look like scaled-up toy soldiers, and Maddin himself described the movie as a "Goya painting etched upon a child's windowpane in frost.") Another part-talkie, this is Maddin's most delirious feature; there is a narrative, but it lies buried somewhere beneath a fluffy snowfall of forgetfulness. All the characters, being amnesiacs, have forgotten the war is over, and between naps continue to fight. They fight painful facts, they fight the love gods, they fight through thick mists of Vaseline. (The ARCHANGEL camera crew went through a whole keg of this unguent.) Soldier and viewer alike fight confusion, unsuccessfully. This is said to be the director's favorite among his movies.

[ed."This wonderful collection also includes"] the five-minute agitprop pastiche The Heart of the World (2000). Some have described this frenzied feature-compressed-into-a-short as a call to arms meant to topple the complaisantly flaccid cinema of today, a plea to reinvent movies from scratch, or a reverent myth which finally places film at the very center of the universe where it belongs. Maybe Guy Maddin, that great lava-sprite, has been expressing all these impassioned sentiments since the very beginning of his career. Who am I to say?

-- Guy Maddin
(originally published in the Village Voice and reprinted with the kind permission of the author and said publication)

GreenCine Member Reviews

pretty....but boring by BrodiesGirl May 30, 2005 - 1:41 PM PDT
3 out of 8 members found this review helpful
I found the whole thing to be....pretty but boring.

I hate when I find movies I am supposed to like because they stray from the mainstream and are all cool....but I just plain didn't like this stuff. I wanted to be entertained and found myself sitting in a 101 film class. Some of the images were beautiful....mostly boring. Not worth the months I waited to watch this disc.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.09)
78 Votes
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Short but Well Worth Your Time
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