It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Guy Maddin's new film "Brand Upon the Brain!" exists in the world Maddin has built by hand over several features that seem to be trying to reinvent the silent cinema. Flickering, high-contrast black-and-white images, shot in 8mm, tell a phantasmagoric story that could be a collaboration between Edgar Allan Poe and Salvador Dali. It's an astonishing film: weird, obsessed, drawing on subterranean impulses, hypnotic.
Equally astonishing is the live theatrical kickoff being provided by the Music Box Theatre. A narration will be performed by the actor Crispin Glover (who is not in the film). The throbbing, hard-driving score will be performed by Ensemble Noamnesia, from Chicago. Sound effects will be created by Foley artists. And a singer billed as a castrato will perform.
This live performance will play at the theater today through Sunday. And then the run will continue with a recorded soundtrack and a narration by Isabella Rossellini. Would I be correct in guessing you have never seen anything like it before?
The film opens with a man named "Guy Maddin" in a rowboat. He is a house painter, answering his mother's summons. She wants two fresh coats of paint on the family's lighthouse, an orphanage that is the only structure on the island of Black Notch.