My criminal wet dream
Over 30 months after its German premiere at this city’s International film festival (and its release pretty much everywhere else), My Winnipeg is finally reaching Germany’s backward Kino land(er) with a limited release – but hey! – better late than never! This is docudrama at its best: the delirious homage of a tremendously talented director to his hometown. A furious collage whose plot – a long high-contrast black and snow-white travelogue narrated by the author himself – blends a creepy-kitschy reenactment of family life under the spell of a she-devilish mother, Buñuelian footage of dead horses trapped in the icy waters of Winnipeg and the even more implausible episode of a 5,000-strong army of Nazis taking over the city. Yet the stories are all true, and the perfect stuff for this proud Winnipegger to embark on a great (self-)mythologizing effort. Over two decades after cult Tales From the Gimli Hospital and five years after The Saddest Music in The World (Maddin’s biggest budget, largest box office film, in which Isabella Rossellini memorably stars as a glass-legged beer baroness), My Winnipeg startles as much as it dazzles, and has the surreal beauty of a 1920s expressionist nightmare: G. Arthur’s Maddin’s signature style.
My Winnipeg | Directed by Guy Maddin (USA 2007) with Ann Savage and Louis Negin. Opens November 4.