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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
But seriously, you have films being made out there that are budgeting around $500,000,000 and then there are films like this; not even nominated for any major motion-picture awards? In my world, this is an Academy Award winner for best picture // and it only cost 50,000 Canadian Dollars! ARCHANGEL, at first, was a slippery slope, but somehow elevated to a nice, flat plain of gorgeousness.
We have a typical Guy Maddin story (B/W) based in 1919 about an amnesiac soldier named John Boles (no big names in this film) who sets out to find his true love, Iris, in Archangel, Russia where the Great War has already ended three months prior, but they have not received word about it yet. Obviously, the whole thing can be looked at as a gag; people wasting their time, dying (perhaps) when they shouldn't be. A lot of elements stuck out to me during this story that makes me believe that YOU CAN WATCH THIS FILM A MILLION TIMES AND NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER GET BORED.
Let us start right off the bat and mention that this film was VERY EISENSTEIN- ESQUE. Definitely not a bad thing; we all love IVAN THE TERRIBLE, but for some amount of individuals, it is just not their cup of cameo-mocha tea. The things I find similar are the CINEMATOGRAPHY; very old fashioned just as Eisenstein had it in the 40s and 50s // then there is the SET DESIGN, which is the biggest in my opinion, because, as complex as the movie may seem, it was such a simple development and everything (costumes and all) ran smoothly (nothing seems too quirky or fake). He really gave a sense of direction regardless of how amateur the locations seem.
**Speaking of Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible: Part II, ARCHANGEL used a similar effect towards the end to give the audience a sense of direction from one place to another; one, red tint // one, blue tint. Very beautiful.
I rated Guy Maddin's Twilight Nymphs (pretty low, in fact) and couldn't help but feel betrayed by him. Now after seeing this project, I want to RE-WATCH that film until I can find the greatness in it. THE MADDINESS!! if you will..
***But like other Maddin films, this one has the same style of dialogue. That means, unnecessary laughs and confusion all around the audience. BUT I LOVE IT. Like I said, this movie you can see numerous times and always get a different out-look on it. Some things you might take to heart, but others you might find are actually part of the story and fit very well // however quirky or surreal they may seem. My favorite line comes from Iris's second lover, Philbin, when he says:
+ PHILBIN: I believe there is a reason for everything. For instance, someone shaved my mustache while I slept last night. What could that mean? +
I think this film is very easy to understand, even for a baby.. okay, maybe not really, but some might thinks there's too much going on. BE PATIENT, the story will come to you. Besides, there is written text shown to update you every once in a while of what it happening in the scenes.
*****There is a scene with someones intestines that I REALLY want to bring up, but I do not want to contain any spoilers in my reviews. **If you watch this film or have already embarked upon it, then you will know what I am talking about; Hehe.
I hereby rate thee film a 10 OUT OF 10!!! I know, many will concur, but film for me is a serious art form. While some things out their are being made with no effort, money wasted, and DREAMS CRUSHED.. it is works like this that can really make you take a second and actually appreciate LOVE, FRIENDSHIP, POSSESSIONS, or even COURAGE/BRAVEY; claiming your part in the world. And I got all of that from Guy Maddin's Archangel. - Heart-on!
-- Michael Mendez
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