April 29 - May 1, 1999

American Cinematheque presents...

"He’s like Jean Cocteau, Luis Buñuel and Orson Welles all rolled into one childlike man" -- Shelley Duvall


Sponsored by AIR CANADA

Series Compiled by Dennis Bartok.




Back to Archive Index







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); re-visiting 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 Lil’s Beauty Salon), Maddin was named after two-fisted B-movie actor Guy Madison, star of BEAST OF HOLLOW MOUNTAIN -- a prophetic beginning, because Maddin’s 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 distant lands.

We’re very pleased to welcome director Guy Maddin to the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian for the first Los Angeles retrospective of his work.

Thursday, April 29 - 7:00 PM

Friday, April 30 - 9:15 PM

Saturday, May 1 - 5:15 PM

L.A. Premiere Theatrical Run! Guy Maddin In-Person!!

TWILIGHT OF THE ICE NYMPHS, 1998, Zeitgeist, 91 min. "It’s 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. Maddin’s latest is a hypnotic, visually-stunning fantasia -- A Midsummer Night’s 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 Maddin’s films, TWILIGHT has the feel of a gorgeous, inescapable hothouse, filled with naked dream-hunters, scheming alchemists and showers of ostrich-feathers. Discussion following Thursday 4/29 screening with director Guy Maddin.



Friday, April 30 - 7:00 PM

TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL, 1988, Zeitgeist, 72 min. With Kyle McCulloch. Maddin’s first feature (and an underground hit in the U.S.), GIMLI HOSPITAL is 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. "A distinctively musty, mock-Nordic gothic that has something to do with smallpox, necrophilia and Icelandic butt-pinching." -- J. Hoberman, PREMIERE. Plus the short, "Odilon Redon," 1995, 5 min., Maddin’s action-packed tribute to the French surrealist painter. Discussion following with director Guy Maddin.

Saturday, May 1 - 5:15 PM

WAITING FOR TWILIGHT, 1998, Zeitgeist, 60 min. Dir. Noam Gonick. Narrated by Maddin-fan Tom Waits, WAITING is 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 that’s better than trying to adopt someone else’s" -- Guy Maddin. Followed by a repeat screening of TWILIGHT OF THE ICE NYMPHS, 1998, 91 min. [see above for description.] Discussion following with director Guy Maddin.

 Saturday, May 1st - 8:30 PM

ARCHANGEL, 1991, Zeitgeist, 90 min. With Kathy Marykuca, Ari Cohen, Michael Gottli. Set in a crystalline Russian city at the close of World War I, ARCHANGEL revolves 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 they’re in love with! "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. With Kyle McCulloch, Gosia Dobrowolska, Brent Neale. Maddin’s most deliriously deranged film, CAREFUL 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. Maddin’s first film in color, CAREFUL was painstakingly tinted to evoke the luminous feel of early 2-strip Technicolor movies. "Maddin’s aesthetic honors European silent cinema’s technical limitations as much as its terrible beauty" -- Graham Fuller, INTERVIEW. "Sometimes I lose a little bit of sleep wondering what it is I’m doing" -- Guy Maddin.