A father and son ride the rails in their powerful locomotive. Witnessing a crash between two other engines, they rescue the lone survivor, Berenice, and make her a part of their family. All... See full summary »
A woman returning home falls asleep and has vivid dreams that may or may not be happening in reality. Through repetitive images and complete mismatching of the objective view of time and space, her dark inner desires play out on-screen.
Nikolai, a mortician, and Osip, an actor playing Christ in a play, are brothers in love with the same woman. Anna, a state scientist and said woman, is in love with both brothers and ... See full summary »
A group of indolent bonvivants stage an accident in order to cadge money for alcohol. The scheme backfires when one of the conspirators is simply too lazy to fulfill his particular function... See full summary »
The story of Roulette Ruby, a limping and terrified spinster who "works" the boats plying Lake Winnipeg, taking on any gambler, staking herself against the cold cash of her partner. She ... See full summary »
Margaret Anne MacLeod,
A tale of lust and bestiality set in a zoo. Delmas, the zookeeper, is obsessively in love with a bizarre carrion-creature, while his daughter Dol makes increasingly desperate attempts to be... See full summary »
The legend of Sea Beggars' Night, when no man can stay awake and no lock can be fastened against the briny ghosts, crowned in moss and barnacles, who rise from the sea and slosh manfully ... See full summary »
The true story of a 1920s Canadian jazz band who play their every performance gagged and almost completely immobilized by thick cords which bind them hand and foot. The music they produce -... See full summary »
A short documentary on hair styles that appeal specifically to women of middle age and the middle class. Elements of sociological inquiry merge with Maddin's customary decayed imagery (... See full summary »
A father and son ride the rails in their powerful locomotive. Witnessing a crash between two other engines, they rescue the lone survivor, Berenice, and make her a part of their family. All is well until the father and son become rivals for the girl's affections and perform a series of dare-devil feats to win her heart. She runs off with a zeppelin pilot, and, after Keller mounts a brief kidnapping attempt, the despondent men are left to their bizarre fates. Written by
Little substance for the casual viewer but plenty of style and imagination
A father and a son work the railway together and are happy until a day that they witness a crash. They rescue the sole survivor a beautiful woman called Berenice who they welcome into their small family. However with time the father and the son both fall for Berenice and the competition for her threatens to rip them apart but will she bring them the happiness they desire?
I saw this short film at a film night recently dedicated to showing several of Maddin's short films and his recent 'Cowards Bend at the Knee'. Despite the event being a little amateurish in its organisation, with a late start and 20 minutes spent watching a band tidy up in front of the screen, I enjoyed the evening and was glad for the chance to see several of the films for the first time. This film was one of the ones that I had seen for the first time and, like many of Maddin's films I struggle to get into it in the short period that it ran for. This I consider to be a problem with his shorts sometimes, unless you are really aware of his influences then you'll struggle to get the substance of the short (kind of like watching Shrek without any knowledge of popular culture you just wouldn't know what it was trying to do). However, the visuals are always impressive and even someone with only a passing knowledge of the silent movie period should be able to enjoy the sheer imagination and flair that Maddin directs with.
The substance here is weird very weird and in this regard it matches the visuals, which are also very strange, a bit unnerving and occasionally quite funny. Supposedly inspired by Redon's sketch, the plot is less important than the style and imagination. Bearing this in mind I liked the film for what it was but I suggest that only Maddin fans and those coming to him for the very first time will fall down and worship this film. I enjoyed it but contest that his best work is where he develops a firmer structure and clearer narrative to place his imagination within (Dracula & Cowards Bend at the Knee being two very good examples of this).
Overall, the casual viewer (such as myself) may find the substance lacking due to its reliance on us to know Maddin's influences etc but the style, pace and imagination in this short make it well worth watching just to experience it if nothing else.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?