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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Waking from Guy Maddin's dream

From Rhys Southan, Brooklyn, NY:

I've seen four Guy Maddin movies now - "Twilight of the Ice Nymphs", "Careful", "The Saddest Music in the World," and "My Winnipeg". "Twilight of the Ice Nymphs" was my first encounter with Maddin's unique vision, and I'd still call it my favorite of his that I've seen, though I've liked them all. His movies are like dreams, but not like hearing someone else's dream; watching a Guy Maddin film, you almost feel like you're having this dream yourself.

I found "My Winnipeg" to be entrancing from the beginning. But there was one segment where I felt Maddin interrupts the trance in favor of a more standard approach. That's his lengthy rant against Winnipeg's demolition of an old ice hockey arena in favor of a modern one with corporate sponsorship (betrayal!). The movie is about him attempting to escape Winnipeg and the tyranny of place, memory and lap, so shouldn't razing this chunk from his past help him in his quest? The only way for him to escape Winnipeg is to destroy it. To get out, he'll have to dismantle it piece by piece, like the memories in eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. Or at least, I thought he might be going somewhere like that with it. Instead, he presents it the way just about any sincere documentary filmmaker would: isn't it a shame that they're tearing down something old for something new?

During that segment, I felt like I'd woken up from the dream. Fortunately, the frozen horse heads brought me back under.

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