IMDb > Cowards Bend the Knee or The Blue Hands (2003)

Cowards Bend the Knee or The Blue Hands (2003) More at IMDbPro »

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Guy Maddin (writer)
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Release Date:
29 December 2004 (France) See more »
It's time for hockey! There's no telling what will happen when the Winnipeg Maroons' own star player... See more » | Add synopsis »
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Simply brilliant – visually a feast, funny, weird, unsettling and, most important of all, actually has a narrative! See more (9 total) »


  (in credits order)

Darcy Fehr ... Guy Maddin
Melissa Dionisio ... Meta

Amy Stewart ... Veronica
Tara Birtwhistle ... Liliom
Louis Negin ... Dr. Fusi
Mike Bell ... Mo Mott
David Stuart Evans ... Shaky
Henry Mogatas ... Chas
Victor Cowie ... Maddin Sr.
Herdis Maddin ... Grandma
Marion Martin ... Mrs. Maddin
Aurum McBride ... Baby
Bernard Lesk ... Stickboy
Erin Hershberg ... Customer / Stylist
Erika Rintoul ... Customer
Charlene Van Buekenhout ... Customer
Sherrill Hershberg ... Customer
Kathryn Stuart ... Customer
Lauren Ritz ... Customer
Rebecca Sandulak ... Customer
Kirstin Ward ... Customer
Billy Dee Knight ... Customer
Ricardo Alms ... Hockey Player
Craig Aftanas ... Hockey Player
Jim Crawford ... Hockey Player
Mike Silver ... Hockey Player
Bob Unger ... Hockey Player
Mark Yuill ... Hockey Player / Cop
Caelum Vatnsdal ... Hockey Player
Matt Holm ... Hockey Player
Meghan Greenlay ... Stylist
Erin McKenzie ... Stylist
Richard Orlandini ... Wax Maroon
Don Hewak ... Wax Maroon

Stan Lesk ... Wax Maroon
Ted Avent ... Wax Maroon

Jon Ted Wynne ... Wax Maroon (as Ted Wynne)
Ian Yorski ... Wax Maroon / Cop
Dave McDonald ... Wax Maroon
Steve Burke ... Cop
Robert Enright ... Cop
Spencer Maybee ... Cop
Brad Jonasson ... Cop (as Bradley Jonasson)
Shauna Evans ... Audience Member
Tracy McBride ... Audience Member
Rodney LaTourelle ... Audience Member
Alex Khizder ... Audience Member
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Moses ... Toby
Erica Genereux Smith ... Customer (as Erica Smith)

Directed by
Guy Maddin 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Guy Maddin  writer

Produced by
Philip Monk .... producer
Cinematography by
Guy Maddin 
Film Editing by
John Gurdebeke 
Production Design by
Shawna Conner 
Art Direction by
Craig Aftanas 
Set Decoration by
Shauna Evans (decors)
Brad Jonasson (decors)
Zarah Laszlo (decors)
Rodney LaTourelle (decors)
Deb Mosher (decors)
Jesse Peterson (decors)
Michael Stecky (decors)
Ian Yorski (decors)
Costume Design by
Meg McMillan 
Makeup Department
Beverley Hamilton .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Tracy McBride .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ruben Guzman .... assistant director (as Rubén Guzmán)
Rebecca Sandulak .... first assistant director
Camera and Electrical Department
Ruben Guzman .... associate director of photography (as Rubén Guzmán)
Ruben Guzman .... second cinematographer (as Rubén Guzmán)
Geoff Heath .... best boy
Scott Jaworski .... gaffer
Spencer Maybee .... key grip
Rebecca Sandulak .... still photographer
Other crew
Ruben Guzman .... associate director (as Rubén Guzmán)


Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Blue Hands" - Canada (English title) (subtitle)
See more »
60 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Originally presented as a gallery installation at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in January 2003, and then two months later at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto, in which viewers watch the movie through ten peepholes lining a wall, each one revealing a different six-minute chapter of the film.See more »


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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
Simply brilliant – visually a feast, funny, weird, unsettling and, most important of all, actually has a narrative!, 19 July 2004
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

In a version of his life, Maddin tells us the tragic story of how the young Guy was once a great ice hockey player with the Maroons, until his girlfriend got into 'trouble'. A visit to a hairdressers-come-bordello-come-abortion clinic leads Guy to fall for Meta, the daughter of the bordello owner Liliom. However Meta wants revenge on her mother and her lover (Shaky – Guy's friend) for the murder of her father (who's blue hands she still has in a jar). A sinister 'transplant' by Dr Fusi, sets Guy on the road to destruction – all for the 'joy, joy, joy of finding love'.

I saw this film at a film night recently dedicated to showing several of Maddin's short films and this semi-feature. 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 the one I had actually come to see, but I didn't know anything about it and I wondering if Maddin would do his usual selective-substance thing over the whole 60 minutes. 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.

With 'Cowards' I didn't have to worry long; after a first scene that seems to set the whole story within a drop of sperm the film manages to retain Maddin's usual flair of the weird as well as setting up a story that is an enjoyable narrative flow – in other words, you're not riding on influences and style for the whole hour. Far from the case; in fact this film is funny, weird, engaging and just plain great! This is not to say that the story takes place in the real world – it doesn't, it is still very weird and strangely comic/weird but it still hangs together. The stretch to an hour shows a little bit towards the end but I still really enjoyed it.

The cast do a great job acting considering they are never heard (it's silent of course!) and they emulate the silent era acting really well. Fehr's Guy is great and he delivers the comic lines (well – 'cards') as effectively as he does the darker stuff. Dionisio is great and conveys so much with her face and, it must be said, a fantastically gorgeous face it is too! Stewart has less of a presence in a smaller role but Birtwhistle is funny as the oversexed mother and support is good from Negin (sinister), Evans (all-American) as well as a few of Maddin's own family members.

Overall this is a great film but one that will put many viewers off by the nature of its content. It is dark, it features full male nudity and it is totally silent – with dialogue cards that have French subtitles. To understand what I'm saying you really need to see (experience) it for yourself but take it from me: I am the first to highlight the weaknesses in substance with Maddin's shorts but here he has a good narrative that sacrifices none of his visual style and feel of the weird, wonderful, dark and comic. A brilliant film that is worth hunting down.

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