One should never look at another time period and feel jealous over its arts movements. Yes, 1919 was cool and 1966 was cool, too. But there is always something going on right here right now that’s every bit as ingenious.
It is so awesome to be alive while Guy Maddin is in full stride in his career. I can’t think of any other filmmaker so specific in his visual aesthetic, his tone, his subjects. It’s nearly impossible to describe his films (Georges Méliès meets John Waters?) and it isn’t like I always like what he’s doing, but I love that he’s out there doing it, you know?
Anyway, this time around there is a drag king detective snooping around a family run orphanage in a light house, where Mom is overbearing, Dad is doing experiments, Sis is in love and our hero Guy is adrift in somber memories. There are kissing gloves, birthmarks shaped like Rumania and “Aerophones” which is a rudimentary intercom system that fuels itself on love and rage.
“Brand Upon The Brain!” will eventually come out on DVD, but you should try and catch it in the theater. This is a big production — a live orchestra (replete with castrato!), three foley artists in lab coats (gongs, whistles, doors, celery and more!) and an “interlocutor-of-the-night.” We saw it with Crispin Glover and can’t imagine anyone else being more perfectly suited.
Maddin made his bones with amazing shorts. I’ve seen many of them, but I must agree with the bulk of the critics. His best is The Heart of the World, which you can watch just by pressing play.
The Heart of the World