Guy Maddin or. the set or" The Saddest Music in the World



Canadian cinema’s one true maverick GUY MADDlrl is ik":jpuiioll'ilr3 iii..- (i itir. ..i.i.;t lucnkeis genre films out there. James Mottram enters his mad world.

By his own admission, Guy Maddin likes working with ‘strairgr: t‘r..r‘,t1al1..'. li.‘.; ~. tint l.-....p;; the work of the so-called ‘Winnipeg fabulist’ as fresh as a damn daisies. Consider his recent txif‘ort, Dracula: Pages From a Virgin’s Diary, a luminous filmed version cf the Hole ‘rlt’irir‘ririi-g Ballet's production of the Bram Stoker classic. Forcing him to embrace an art form l'ti: l:rir little abfiirl, the result was pure alchemy, blending ballet with the style of a silent movie. Heavir; ini‘lirtnrrcrt by the car ly work of Josef von Sternberg, as well as Ernst Lubitsch and Luis Bunuul, the Ll'o—yrlar old i iatlrlin has returned to the period for his latest film, The Saddest Music in the World.

This time, his restrictions were of a more practical lir'lltli'tr. Wort rug in l.i . native town in temperatures that plummeted to around —40”C, he was forced to slrorrr .rt arr incrcrlilrlr par, r; on a tight budget. ‘There was no time to put lights on a light Stiilitl; people er..- iti_.t' holding tlrni'il, their moving around,’ he says. ‘At one point, we split into four contirigerrts: in; UP. ray productii' and even an Argentinean friend of mine were directing elsewhere, as l ~'~'as rlir acting a irraiii llilll. And we got 185 set-ups done in that day, when normally crews get aror rutl arr)

Telling the Depression-set story of a beer baroness (lsatrelig. {trust that) l. i until. i. r lililkgirttC'l-ll1Ll the saddest music in the world, Maddin also had to deal viii. tit. cgrr or 'riltii'i-L14llr’r llil‘rlgtlr'C (The Remains of the Day), who wrote the original screenplay. 'r'li.- strri y \ iris. initially set in London in 1987 prior to the fall of the Iron Curtain, and Maddin admits ‘ish‘ i; ;r.-,.i't er'a;_‘y shout L.lrillli'it.i the story to 1933 Winnipeg. He’d made a political satire and he \t'ar’rterl to ii'rLrlw' sure his origii'ral rtonrtrrns weren‘t lost in all my organ transplants. It was an interesting tennis i..:.t.,,l. trrr,..~ti._:.; I think my prcrlucer kept us apart until our ideas were close enough together for a race try-t ice ir'rt;L.llligi. ltr as like taro horny marmots or probably more like the pathetically futile attempt; to mate panda l;r.-at'.;.'

A former bank clerk, Maddin admits he was ‘too frigl‘rtei‘red to ruin cor rteriipt‘irar y Lorru'Jir but also saw the film as his chance to mythologise Winnipeg, regarded ii .- tirr- :;t.~xonrl (",himgo until the Depression hit. ‘l’ve always admired the way America was great :it rr-igli‘rsltugi ;ing its past Canada is piss-poor at that. If these events happened, it’s beside the point A lirrc :ir.; lohr'r V‘Jayne irrovie.‘ Like the true cowboy he is, Maddin admits: ‘I try to direct cueryrliiug i l, a; ir‘ lL might no my las‘i.’

I fhe Saddest Music in the lit/or/d opens at the (3/ l. t . . ' v ' ' Fri 2i Marc See I'evrew page 28.

lRUl CRIME URN/1A WONDERLAND (18) 104mm .000

The fact that porn star John Holmes is ‘."/orider/arrd's central figure might lead one to assume director James Cox and co-x'rriter Captain lvlau/ner's film rs a re-tv‘ead of Boogie Nights ll.'l w‘rhrch llllll Mark \/'\./ar‘.|herg's well endox'rerr‘ Dirk Diggler was based on Holmesi. But l."/orider/arrd begins at the end of Holmes career. 2.000 hardcore films and l-LOOC ‘.'.’()lll(;'.'l down the line. ‘.'./hen the porn star lplayed by Val Kilmeri had stopped making lll()‘.'l(}f3 and drug addiction

Glamour gone to sceii

led to associating x'rrth deazers and hludgeorwr : :- crrminais. Avenue ll 1 ,‘xfi

In 1981 Holmes was irnpiicated (If)l‘.f§lilrr'.i:il. .: in the murders of four friends. who l Al—Jl). il‘t: 'rr: had purportedly ripped off deaier f;(2()ll(: t';§l‘r(.t: I' ~.- . Eddie Nash to the tune of ()l'(l(:l(:<l late! rE- .' .. {til SZEXMXX). l'he rlrsco‘xeh,’ of four Siilrsr;ri;.i;r‘t‘.. 1' w

26 THE LIST 1/9 Ar» 11-) l.".r.

N/‘xl t it {At lS'l l() l )HAMA AT FIVE IN THE AFTERNOON

(U) 106min on

the Taliban have lied and Kabul lies in ruins. struggling to cope with the influx of refugees from Pakistan. A determined young woman called Nogr'eh lAgheleh lte/aiel dreams of hecomirrg president of Afghanistan and receives encoiiragement from a recently returned poet (Ra/r Mohehi). l-ler daily routine, however. revolves around securing food. water and shelter for herself and her relatives. including her sister~inlairv who's nursing a sick bahy. Nogreh's traditionalist. cart—driver father (Apririiganr Yousefra/il does not even knoc: that his daughter attends

:ssons at an all—female secular school. And it's this patriarch who insists that the family ]()lll him on trek out of the cin and into the desert.

Post Taliban existence

lérixrtlt} its title from Lor‘ca's poem apout the death of his hullfighter friend, the third feature of Iranian director Samira Makhrrraihaf sc-n'es as an allegorical account of post- laiihan exrstence. prowding a vrvrd portrait of a shattered country tentatively emerghg from its collective nrgirtrna'e. \.‘-.’hile ltexare's performance captures Nogreh's admiralrie (lltlllll‘,. resilzence and 1ltEl'iEl'lllllllliltlll. ft! live :h the After/roar} is less (lr'arrratically coherent than this filmmakers premicas unork. [flack/maids. and irranr, cl its non professional cast struggle to cormnce. lhe real strength of the film lies in the may that Makhnx‘rliraf and her cineriiatograr)her l.“.l):'£lllllll (Eirafou .i\’.rri.;.r/:.iri capture something of the surreal strarrgerr rss of life in the Aigrrani capital through their choice of locations ra ruined palace. the .'.'rer:k.igt: of an aeroplaner arrrl :i‘;,lllllt,‘l|(: oorects ta ‘.‘.'llll(} pair of "."A‘rlllih’llil shoes, hlue umbrellas). for a film lltitlixthl l)". suffering and rrirsfrrrtirne. this is also touched l)\. ttrrrriiinmh; .il‘.(l humour. rlem llaixxsoni I (i/ I, (tirrsgui'. from la {90 Ar). and the / .rlrl/Irl.r::r,‘, ft/l/‘lh/ftj/l or) /-/r f

".ltr'l.. \)(,'(,) All’l[(/),lI/(I)|ll /)t!l}‘(}. \).