Celluloid Dreamland: The Cinema of Guy Maddin
Screening Dates
  • February 2, 2023 6:30
  • February 4, 2023 8:20
35mm Print

Mesmerizing … A mythic fantasy of unslaked desire, dangerous passion, and mounting paranoia … Suggests a B‑movie version of Shakespeare’s Tempest isle.”

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

The fourth feature-length excursion into the bizarre, movie-obsessive brainpan of Guy Maddin is the warped Winnipeger’s first film boasting seasoned international actors. Unfolding like some peyote-dream confluence of Douglas Sirk’s garish, gorgeous 1950s melodramas and Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Maddin’s second colour film is set in mystical Mandragora, an ethereal, twilit land of endless orange skies, teeming flora, and raging, darkness-deprived libidos. Political prisoner Peter (an uncredited Nigel Whitmey) is returning home to Mandragora after years of incarceration abroad, and falls in love with a mysterious woman (Pascale Bussières) en route. He arrives to find his ostrich-farming sister (Shelley Duvall) in the throes of infatuation for an evil one-legged mesmerist (R.H. Thomson), who has diabolical designs on Peter’s beloved. Maddin’s febrile imagination had never been in finer form. Twilight is as rapturous a delirium dreamscape as narrative cinema had yet conjured up!

Print courtesy of TIFF Film Reference Library

Enthralling … [Maddin’s] overwhelming stylization unexpectedly produces an emotional and psychological authenticity.”

Lisa Alspector, Chicago Reader

“[Evokes] the delightful but dangerous enclosed worlds of Powell and Pressburger, von Sternberg, and Fassbinder … With the shift to colour, Maddin has also expanded his dramatic horizons.”

Kim Newman, Sight and Sound