I saw this movie at the beginning of the summer and for some reason hadn't written about it until now. Sometimes this happens to me when I really like a movie and am not quite sure how to explain how great it is because I know whatever I say will sound trite. Oh well, I've got to write about it at some point. So I'll say this - if you haven't seen any Guy Maddin movies, you should. And this one might be a good place to start. I like his movies with a bit of a structure, just a little bit to make it go down easier. This one had enough for me.
Ostensibly, this is a documentary about Maddin's hometown. But, of course, it is not nearly so simple. It is about the nostalgia of memories, not really fact, but what should have been fact. He has described it as a "docu-fantasia."
Hockey rinks, the glory and the destruction. Goons, players taking a last piss before the rink was destroyed. He moves into his old house and hires an actress to play his mother.
Later, the viewer is treated to images of numerous historical monuments in the city as well as learning about such events as the Winnipeg General Strike, the defeat of the Winnipeg Jets, and even the Golden Boy pageant scandal. Not to mention sleepwalkers and the racetrack tragedy that found numerous horses sent to an icy death only to become a tourist attraction for the rest of the season. And, oh yeah, how could I forget the fantasy train rides through the old Winnipeg of his dreams with the floating kielbasa hanging from the ceiling. So bizarre. So completely brilliant.
My Winnipeg touches on a lot of the usual Maddin touchstones: hockey, moms, life as an old silent film, dreams and it does it as well if not better than any of his previous films. This will be high on my year end list.
Directed by Guy Maddin
2007, U.S. Release: 2008
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