In the dreaded Gimli Hospital, we are treated to a series of vivid images horrors therein, in a condensed version of Maddin's short film 'Tales from Gimli Hospital'.
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 problem for me in this case was not so much that I didn't get into the story but more that the film was complimenting an earlier short that I have not seen. So therefore the issue of not being able to get into the material was not so much the film's fault by just the fact that it appears to have been aimed at fans like another reviewer said 'like having an extra bonus after watching the longer film'. I found this too difficult to get over and couldn't get into it at all. The images were typical Maddin but even these were a bit too weird for my tastes and didn't have his usual genre style a bit too nasty I thought.
Overall this is maybe of great value to Maddin fans as it compliments one of his earliest short films; but for many, like me, they might find this one too difficult to be on the outside of and offer very little. The short running time and weird images do not capture his usual imagination and sense of the beautiful and I would only recommend this to those who are fans.
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