An amnesiac soldier, seeking his lost love, arrives in Archangel in northern Russia to help the townsfolk in their fight against the Bolsheviks, all quite unaware that the Great War ended three months ago.
Lt. John Boles, a one-legged soldier, is assisting the White Russians in the Russian Arctic during World War I. He finds himself in Archangel, a crystalline city of spires and domes, inhabited by some very confused people. Boles loves Iris, who is dead, and meets Veronkha, whom he mistakes for Iris. But Veronkha is already married to Philbin, who forgets he is married to Veronkha. Veronkha thinks Boles is Philbin... Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
Guy Maddin has stated that audience members viewing the film for the first time often confused the characters Veronkha and Danchukh because of the physical similarities between Kathy Marykuca and Sarah McLeod. Marykuca was a natural blond and wore a dark wig for the film. See more »
The sophomore feature from Winnipeg director Guy Maddin confirms the promise of his offbeat 1988 debut 'Tales From the Gimli Hospital', although perhaps with a hint of understandable redundancy. Maddin's peculiar aesthetic is the same, borrowing extensively from the primitive vocabulary of early sound productions (circa 1928-1930), but this time the action is updated from Icelandic fable to the Russian Revolution, a popular setting for Hollywood melodramas during the late silent/early sound era. Every anachronism is flawlessly presented, from the flickering black and white photography to the scratchy music score and crude post-dubbed dialogue, but like 'Gimli Hospital' the macabre (to say the least) plot is pointed straight at today's midnight cult cinephiles. Only the details are different: instead of dead seagull therapy and ritual butt-grabbing duels to the death (both highlights of the earlier film), audiences can enjoy an odd, amnesiac love quadrangle, climaxing when one character uses his own intestines to strangle the Bolshevik barbarian who disemboweled him. Not surprisingly, comparisons have been drawn to the early films of David Lynch, who next to Maddin is more in the same league as Frank Capra.
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