While their mother is dying in the modern Gimli, Manitoba hospital, two young children are told a tale by their Icelandic grandmother about Einar the Lonely, his friend Gunnar, and the ...
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While their mother is dying in the modern Gimli, Manitoba hospital, two young children are told a tale by their Icelandic grandmother about Einar the Lonely, his friend Gunnar, and the angelic Snjofridur in a Gimli of old.Written by
Fans of David Lynch and early Luis Buñuel will find plenty to admire (or scratch their head at) in this esoteric, shoestring budget mock Icelandic folk tale, set in a bleak sub-arctic village where victims of a mysterious plague are treated by having their sores caressed with dead seagulls. Winnipeg director Guy Maddin borrows extensively from the primitive vocabulary of the early sound era (with grainy photography, a scratchy music score, and crude post-dubbed dialogue) to create a nonsensical 70-minute punchline with no joke attached. The antique style of the production would have to be considered its own reward, especially since the story itself (involving incest, hints of necrophilia, and a mysterious butt-grabbing duel to the death) leads nowhere in particular. The awkward emoting by Nordic characters named Gunnar, Snjofridur, and Einar the lonely; the Louise Brooks look-alike nurses; and the cameo appearance of a black-faced vaudeville minstrel are all reminiscent of some nightmarish, early 1930s melodrama, but Maddin's aesthetic is aimed squarely at today's midnight cult audiences.
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