My Winnipeg

"Excellent"

My Winnipeg Review


My Winnipeg, the latest walk down memory lane from Canadian maestro Guy Maddin, flirts most flagrantly with commercial appeal and convention. This goes double for a filmmaker who has consistently burrowed himself into the fractured nostalgia of the silent era, peep shows, news reels, and ham-fisted/hard-boiled noirs with nothing but wild-blue-yonder glee. Yet, besides its outset of being a "documentary," there is little familiar about Maddin's wonderscape that isn't hardwired directly into the auteur's stylistic stigmas.

It all starts, as it so often does, on a train. The main character (Darcy Fehr), a rebellious, alternate-reality incarnation of Maddin himself, sleeps and dreams his way through the main avenues, alleyways and inlets of Winnipeg in the business class section of a ghost engine. Desperate to leave the memories of his home burg, he begins remembering his childhood, partly recreates it, and then peppers it with large swigs of fantasized recollections and recreational mythologies.

The Maddin aesthetic has always drifted from honest nostalgia to corrupted apparitions to full-blown fantasia but he has always been, at heart, a storyteller. With Winnipeg, the landscape fractures early: It opens with Maddin directing noir legend Ann Savage as she prepares to play his mother, scolding his older sister for an illicit affair she's had. What follows is a carnivalesque exhibition of destroyed totems of Maddin's youth and an awfully funny rendering of his home life as the runt of the litter, not much bigger than the pug he casts as his fondly-remembered puppy.

My Winnipeg instills memory as ice-laden spectre: insular, amorphous, and mystic in its reverie. Reality and hallucinated reminiscence blur at the edges: Who would believe that If Day, a yearly supposition of what would have happened if the Nazis had taken Manitoba, is completely legit, but what about baby Guy's birth in the locker room of homegrown hockey titans the Winnipeg Maroons? The remnants of a race track fire that burned a dozen or so horses alive allows for some of Maddin's most haunted (haunting?) imagery. Sticking out of the tundra as if frozen as they emerged from hell, the glacial horse heads, stuck in contortions of anguish, have become a tourist attraction, a photo op spectacle and, most disturbingly, a hang-out for teens. Each perverse locale he visits yields to the sublimity of Maddin's film.

What Maddin has done here is quite miraculous. Engulfing his pristine black-and-white photography in a snowy haze, lost in a wonderland of his own making, Maddin turns his birthplace into a mythic brume where one's feet are strictly forbidden from the ground. If everyone paints their hometown as a veritably unknown world of demons, saints, perverts, monuments, and "the best diner ever," Maddin goes inward and turns his hometown into his own personalized whirligig. It's a place where Ledge Man repeats are waiting for you when you get home and Citizen Girl waits to remedy even the slightest sense of injustice. And they say you can't go home again.

Let's play hockey.



My Winnipeg

Facts and Figures

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th July 2008

Distributed by: IFC First Take

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 79 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Phyllis Laing

Starring: Ann Savage as Mother, Amy Stewart as Janet Maddin, as Guy Maddin, Louis Negin as Mayor Cornish, Brendan Cade as Cameron Maddin

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.