Trial by Fire
The film plods at points, trudging along, and there are a few misguided narrative "devices" tacked on, but still, "Trial by Fire" bristles with anger.
Fandor is hosting a Guy Maddin Blogathon all week (September 19-23). As part of it, Fandor Editor-in-Chief Kevin B. Lee and Press Play's Matt Zoller Seitz have collaborated on a fascinating NSFW (silent film nudity!) video essay exploring Maddin's 2004 "Cowards Bend the Knee," which they say might be his masterwork: "It feels like a signpost work, a summary of his techniques and obsessions." A hockey player for the Winnipeg Maroons, Guy Maddin, whose aunt runs a combination beauty parlor and abortion clinic called the Black Silhouette, finds himself the victim of a sinister plot when his girlfriend becomes pregnant. You can watch the essay, "Cut Up in a Dream: Guy Maddin's Cowards Bend the Knee" above (listen closely to the pastiche of popular classics that serve as the musical score); or see the entire feature at Fandor.
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