Guy Maddin is a most acquired taste. Filming in black and white and creating images that resemble silent cinema, Maddin (The Saddest Music in the World) is a postmodernist with a yearning for a time when post-modernism wasn’t even a glint in Baudrillard’s eye.
In My Winnipeg the nostalgia isn’t only for silent cinema; it is also for the way his hometown has changed over the years. As he waxes a little lyrically and often sarcastically about the changes to this Canadian city, the one constant is the cold, hard look he takes at a cold, hard place. Why does anybody stay, he muses, while wondering whether it’s more a case of it being impossible to leave. As he recreates his childhood with various actors playing the roles of the siblings, and veteran actress Anne Savage playing his demanding mum, Maddin gets the balance between acerbic nostalgia and indulgent self-centredness just right. At one moment he goes off on one in defence of the long since demolished Winnipeg arena (the home of the ice hockey team) and the carbuncle that replaced it. How could they have destroyed the arena; after all, it was where he was born, he claims, as he offers yet another moment of ironic, hyperbolised egotism.
GFT, Glasgow, Fri 18–Thu 24 Jul.