Celluloid Dreamland: The Cinema of Guy Maddin

Hardcore Maddin … What’s truly extraordinary about this movie—which strikes me [after] two viewings as Maddin’s masterpiece—is that it not only plays like a dream but feels like one.”

J. Hoberman, Village Voice

The first in Maddin’s self-mythologizing Me Trilogy” (followed by Brand Upon the Brain! and My Winnipeg) was commissioned for Toronto’s Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and originally presented as an installation piece in ten peepholes. In it, actor Darcy Fehr portrays young, handsome Guy Maddin, star player of the Winnipeg Maroons ice-hockey team, boyfriend of the beautiful Veronica (Amy Stewart), and unrepentant coward when it comes to any form of relationship. His inability to face adult responsibilities leads him into a tangled plot involving vengeful women, mad doctors, hand transplants, strangulation, and living waxworks. A lovingly self-loathing peek at myself, but only as I would have enough courage to look—through a cracked glass made foggy by hairspray” (Guy Maddin). With its pre-sound style, delirious yet sincere melodramatics, morbid sense of humour, and dynamic hockey action, this is pure Maddin magic. Winner of a special jury prize at the 2003 Rotterdam Film Festival.

Cowards is not only Maddin’s most radically personal work, it has injected his technique with a passionate clarity and ruthless velocity.” Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star

preceded by

Sissy Boy Slap Party
Canada 2004
Guy Maddin
6 min. DCP

At once a tribute to Kenneth Anger and a Three Stooges sendup of ethnographic documentary, Maddin’s ludicrous six-minute short demonstrates what can go wrong when a group of sissy sailors are left to their own silly (and slappy) devices.

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