Brand Upon The Brain!

"Excellent"

Brand Upon The Brain! Review


Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls (Over 18)! Welcome to the Spectacle of the Summer! Prepare Your Eyes for Popping and Your Jaw for Dropping! We Invite You to Partake in the Newest of Celluloid Contraptions Created by that Crazy Canadian himself: Guy Maddin! Cross-dressing! Ritual Sacrifice! Incest! Teen Detectives! The Fountain of Youth! Vampirism! Cannibalism! The Resurrection! You Can Find All of This and More in Maddin's New Film: Brand Upon the Brain!

Don't be surprised if you find a carnival barker outside the theatre saying these very words. Maddin's latest malcontent thrust into the past goes all out to recreate the real deal in a silent film experience. Besides the grainy, jumpy camera work and the burnt-out trickery found in the best silent films, Maddin has commissioned an orchestra to play all the music live and a bevy of celebrities to provide live, spoken narration to the piece. Names as varied as Crispin Glover, Lou Reed, and Isabella Rossellini stand at a podium, shouting and retracing the short bursts of words seen on the screen. For any true cinephile, this has Venom and the Sandman beaten by a country mile.

The story goes like this: Guy Maddin (Erik Steffen Maahs) returns to his hometown on an island that once housed a deranged orphanage run by his mother (Gretchen Krich) and his mad scientist father (Todd Jefferson Moore). As he tries to repair the lighthouse his mother once occupied, he flashes back to his youth at the orphanage when he would pal around with Sis (Maya Lawson), a disastrous flirt with chastity forced on her by her mother.

One day, they are visited by Wendy Hale (Katherine E. Scharhon), half of the brother-sister team of sleuths known as the Lightbulb Kids. Young Guy (Sullivan Brown) quickly develops a crush on Wendy but she then disappears in lew of her brother Chance Hale. In fact, Wendy has just dressed up as Chance to better investigate the strange markings on the back of children's necks. While investigating, Hale also begins an affair with Sis and discovers nectar that can make people youthful again, created by Guy's father.

Following his fantastic short My Dad is 100 Years Old, Brand Upon the Brain shows Maddin being more calculated and restrained in his editing style and his overall aesthetic. Brain continues a longing to create that perfect balance of silent film rhetoric and nostalgia-blasted camp that reached its pinnacle in 2004's extraordinary Cowards Bend the Knee. Maddin's further tunneling into his past and his psyche creates a wacky diversion, but there's also a fondness and warmth to the film that elevates it beyond gimmickry. Even the casting comes off as mnemonic: All the actors seem to have been chosen for their faces and expressions, none more evocative than Scharhon's wide-eyed mixture of curiosity, despondence, and lust. Through his camera, his editing, and his ever-unique style, Maddin alludes to the ghosts of childhood not through imaginary friends and monsters but rather the monsters and friends we all wish were imaginary.



Brand Upon The Brain!

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 24th September 2008

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: Vitagraph Films

Production compaines: The Film Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 53 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Amy E. Jacobson, Gregg Lachow

Also starring:

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