|Like A Waking Dream: An
In-Person Tribute to Director Guy Maddin
the Aero Theatre!
Presented in association with MOCA, Museum of Contemporary Art in
Los Angeles, On the occasion of the exhibition "The Royal Art Lodge: Ask
the Dust," November 2004 to February 14, 2005 at the Pacific Design Center.
The films of Canadian director Guy Maddin are like a waking
dream -- a surreal, shimmering landscape where hypnotists walk hand-in-hand with amnesiacs
through fields of artificial ice and snow. "I quickly learned that the cheapest prop
is a shadow," Maddin has observed with humor -- and if anything, his films are a wild
triumph of imagination over budget limitations: transforming an abandoned iron works into
the mystical land of Mandragora (TWILIGHT OF THE ICE NYMPHS); inventing pseudo-Slavic
languages and place-names (TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL); revisiting what he calls the
"largely disused film vocabulary" of silent movies, including tinted stocks,
deliberately-scratchy soundtracks and title cards. Born in 1957 in Winnipeg, Canada (above
his Aunt Lils Beauty Salon), Maddin was named after two-fisted B-movie actor Guy
Madison, star of BEAST OF HOLLOW MOUNTAIN -- a prophetic beginning, because Maddins
films combine a lust for all things gaudy and bright ("the flowery dialogue and
crazed soap-operatics waft out like incense," critic J. Hoberman once commented) with
a passion for movie-matinee enchantment, the feeling of being transported to strange and
The retrospective tribute includes Guy Maddins TWILIGHT OF
THE ICE NYMPHS, TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL, ARCHANGEL, CAREFUL, COWARDS BEND THE KNEE,
The Heart Of The World and other features and shorts.
In addition Guy Maddin will present a carte blanche -- a selection
of films that influenced him as a filmmaker.
Were thrilled to welcome director
Guy Maddin for an In person Tribute at the Aero Theatre.
"The Guy Maddin film retrospective provides an important
backdrop for the exhibition, The Royal Art Lodge: Ask the Dust, currently on view at The
Museum of Contemporary Art. Like Maddin, The Royal Art Lodge, a collective of young
artists who make drawings, collages, music, performances, and films together, are based in
Winnipeg, Canada, and are part of an increasingly visible and lively artistic scene. The
Royal Art Lodge's preference for low-tech, low-budget production finds an analogue in the
films of Maddin, and both share a penchant for the wacky, outre, and surreal."
Michael Darling, curator of the exhibition.
Friday, January 21 - 7:30 PM
Double Feature! COWARDS BEND THE KNEE, 2003,
Zeitgeist, 60 min. "Maddins masterpiece!" J. Hoberman, The
Village Voice "There is something rather splendid about this extended-play
peep show, as if Mr. Maddin had stumbled across a hitherto lost archive of cinema's
less-than-innocent past." Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
Adapted from a ten-part peephole installation, and "jam-packed
with enough kinetically photographed action to seem like a never-ending cliffhanger...In
this twisted and poisoned wish-fulfillment, the mythomaniacal Guy Maddin
casts himself (actually, Darcy Fehr) as a hockey player made lily-livered by
mother and daughter femme fatales, and resurrects his father as the teams radio
broadcaster and his own romantic antagonist. Set in a shadow-suffused hockey arena and a
Mabuse-like beauty salon-slash-abortion clinic, the plot drips with Grecian formula, as
sordid family secrets spawn unintentional murder most foul." - Mark Peranson
TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL, 1988, Zeitgeist, 72
min. Director Guy Maddins first feature (and an underground hit in the U.S.),
a hallucinatory, strangely-hilarious vision of a plague-stricken hospital in the
bleaker-than-bleak town of Gimli. Tortured souls Einar and Gunnar share adjoining beds and
the same mysterious skin ailment -- and in true Maddin fashion, they share something much
darker. With Kyle McCulloch. "A distinctively musty, mock-Nordic gothic that has
something to do with smallpox, necrophilia and Icelandic butt-pinching." -- J.
Hoberman, Premiere. Discussion following with Guy Maddin.
Friday, January 21 - 10:15 PM
Carte Blanche to Guy Maddin:
NAKED JUNGLE, 1954, Paramount, 94
min. Dir. Byron Haskin. Charlton Heston is Leiningen, a tough South American
plantation owner who has just accepted delivery on his mail order bride, the stunning Eleanor
Parker. But he hadnt counted on her being independently feisty and a widow to
boot. The sparks fly until something more threatening dwarfs their quarrel a
miles-long, miles-wide army of voracious ants known as the Marabunda. Heston vows not to
retreat before this plague of nearly-biblical proportions, and Parker insists on staying
with him to weather the ordeal. Director Guy Maddin to
Saturday, January 22 - 5:00 PM
Carte Blanche to Guy Maddin:
FORTY GUNS, 1957, 20th
Century Fox, 79 min, Director Sam Fuller had to sacrifice his original title, WOMAN
WITH A WHIP but he kept everything else from Barbara Stanwycks
black-leather dominatrix gear to the films naked gun-lust (Her: "May I feel
it?" Him: "It might go off in your face."). Still the most subversively
entertaining Western ever made, a surreal dreamscape in which nothing is motivated by
natural laws. With Barry Sullivan, Gene Barry. "Its not even really a
Western I dont know what it is... FORTY GUNS doesnt care."
Martin Scorsese. Director Guy Maddin to introduce screening.
Saturday, January 22 - 7: 30 PM
Double Feature: ARCHANGEL, 1991, Zeitgeist, 90
min. Dir. Guy Maddin. Set in a crystalline Russian city at the close of World War I
and revolving around the insane love triangle between a Canadian soldier, a Belgian
aviator and a Russian nurse -- all three suffering from a rare memory disorder that makes
them forget who theyre in love with! With Kathy Marykuca, Ari Cohen, Michael Gottli.
"An obscurantist delight, a ghost of silent movies" -- Interview.
"Filled with outlandish fin-de-siecle frou-frou, romantic Russian music of WWI,
dementedly baroque Slavophile interiors, and German helmets with spread-winged
eagles" -- L.A. Weekly.
CAREFUL, 1992, Zeitgeist, 100
min. Guy Maddins most deliriously deranged film recreates the 19th-century
Alpine village of Tolzbad, a seismic volcano of incestuous desires and suicidal passions
-- where even the smallest noise will set off a massive avalanche. Maddins first
film in color was painstakingly tinted to evoke the luminous feel of early 2-strip
Technicolor movies. With Kyle McCulloch, Gosia Dobrowolska, Brent Neale. "Maddins
aesthetic honors European silent cinemas technical limitations as much as its
terrible beauty" -- Graham Fuller, Interview. "Sometimes I lose a
little bit of sleep wondering what it is Im doing" -- Guy Maddin. Discussion in between films with director Guy Maddin.
Sunday, January 23 - 5:00 PM
Double Feature: DRACULA: PAGES FROM A VIRGINS DIARY, 2002,
Zeitgeist, 73 min. After garnering widespread acclaim with his mini-masterpiece
"The Heart Of The World," director Guy Maddin concocted one of his most
ravishingly stylized cinematic creations. Beautifully transposing the Royal Winnipeg
Ballets interpretation of Bram Stokers classic vampire yarn from stage to
screen, Maddin has forged a sumptuous, erotically charged feast of dance, drama and
shadow. The black-and-white, blood-red-punctured film is a Gothic grand guignol of the
notorious Count and his bodice-ripped victims, fringed with the expressionistic strains of
Gustav Mahler. Bruce Diones in The New Yorker declared that "Maddin has
discovered a new kind of cinema, the welding of silent-film technique, avant-garde
imagery, and 21st century technology....Victorian sexuality and melodrama are brought
together in a shadowy world of expressionistic images and an athletic, almost
Carte Blanche to Guy Maddin:
A WOMAN'S FACE, 1941, Warner Bros, 106 min. George
Cukor directed this remake of a 1938 Swedish film originally starring Ingrid Bergman.
Here Joan Crawford plays the scarred woman whose life experiences a startling
metamorphosis once she goes under the plastic surgeons knife. Unfortunately, she
still has sinister Conrad Veidt to deal with! With Melvyn Douglas. Plus
Maddins shorts: "Sissy Boy Slap Party," 2004, 4 min.; "A
Trip to the Orphanage," 2004, 4 min.; "Sombra Dolorosa," 2004, 4
min; The Heart of the World, 2000, Zeitgeist, 6 min. Discussion
following with Guy Maddin.
Wednesday, January 26 - 7:30 PM This
screening is cancelled.
TWILIGHT OF THE ICE NYMPHS,
1998, Zeitgeist, 91 min. "Its so strange a place at this time of the year --
when the sun never quite leaves the sky," murmurs the goddess-like Juliana (Pascale
Bussiéres), as she approaches the island of Mandragora, timeless land of lost dreams and
forbidden passions. Guy Maddins hypnotic, visually-stunning fantasia -- A
Midsummer Nights Dream as envisioned by illustrator Maxfield Parrish, -- with an
equally-fantastic cast led by Shelley Duvall, Frank Gorshin and Alice Krige. The
entire set was built inside the abandoned Vulcan Iron Works -- and more than any of
Maddins films, TWILIGHT has the feel of a gorgeous, inescapable hothouse, filled
with naked dream-hunters, scheming alchemists and showers of ostrich-feathers.
WAITING FOR TWILIGHT,
1998, Zeitgeist, 60 min. Dir. Noam Gonick. Narrated by Maddin-fan Tom Waits,
a fascinating, typically-endearing portrait of Maddin and the making of his latest epic
fantasy. "I realize that not many people share my sense of humor -- but I still
think thats better than trying to adopt someone elses" -- Guy Maddin.
Thursday, January 27 - 7:30 PM
Carte Blanche to Guy Maddin
THEY WON'T BELIEVE ME,
1947, RKO (Warner Classics), 95 min. Dir. Irving Pichel. Susan Hayward and Jane
Greer are part of Robert Young's harem of seduced beauties. An unusual story
for the period about a married Lothario whose sex addiction leads to murder and an
attempted cover-up. A shattering climax, literally.
THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD,
2003, IFC Films, 100 min. Visionary Canadian director Guy Maddin returns with a
visually-stunning feature - a Depression-era, musical fable centering around Port-Huntly
Beer Companys international contest to find the worlds saddest music. Isabella
Rossellini sizzles as Beer Baroness Lady Port-Huntly, the broken-hearted, amputee/diva
host of the $25,000 competition. As musicians from all around the globe (West Africa,
Scotland, Mexico, Siam, etc.) flock to Winnipeg to compete, a dysfunctional family
composed of an alcoholic Canadian father and his two dramatic sons (both posing as
foreigners) squares off against each other in hopes of landing the prize money - and the
hearts of both Lady Port-Huntly and Narcissa, a self-proclaimed nymphomaniac with a
talking tapeworm. With Mark McKinney, Maria de Medeiros, Ross McMillan and David Fox.