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Cowards Bend the Knee (2003)

Cowards Bend the Knee or The Blue Hands (original title)
It's time for hockey! There's no telling what will happen when the Winnipeg Maroons' own star player Guy becomes embroiled in the twisted lives of Meta, a vengeful Chinoise, and her ... See full summary »


Guy Maddin


Guy Maddin
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Darcy Fehr ... Guy Maddin
Melissa Dionisio Melissa Dionisio ... Meta
Amy Stewart ... Veronica
Tara Birtwhistle Tara Birtwhistle ... Liliom
Louis Negin ... Dr. Fusi
Mike Bell Mike Bell ... Mo Mott
David Stuart Evans David Stuart Evans ... Shaky
Henry Mogatas Henry Mogatas ... Chas
Victor Cowie Victor Cowie ... Maddin Sr.
Herdis Maddin Herdis Maddin ... Grandma
Marion Martin Marion Martin ... Mrs. Maddin
Aurum McBride Aurum McBride ... Baby
Bernard Lesk Bernard Lesk ... Stickboy
Erin Hershberg Erin Hershberg ... Customer / Stylist
Erika Rintoul Erika Rintoul ... Customer


It's time for hockey! There's no telling what will happen when the Winnipeg Maroons' own star player Guy becomes embroiled in the twisted lives of Meta, a vengeful Chinoise, and her hairdresser/abortionist mother Liliom. Innocent Veronica, caught in the middle, is treated to both services! Meanwhile poor, dithering, cowardly Guy can only stand by and watch. Written by Anony-Moose

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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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 »


Referenced in Le cliché (2019) See more »

User Reviews

Out-Lynch's Lynch
7 December 2005 | by Polaris_DiBSee all my reviews

Understand that I'm getting a bit tired of people comparing every strange movie that comes along to a David Lynch film too. Unfortunately, Lynch is the norm and just about one of the most accessible strange filmmakers out there, so sometimes the comparison is needed for a starting point, like in this case.

This movie is, roughly speaking, the story of a swinging hockey player who gets entrapped in a bunch of relationships, including most prominently one with a scarred daughter who wants her father's death revenged. Her father's killer? Her mother. It includes but is not limited to perverse sexuality, weird psychoses, and severed arms.

It's shot in black and white and is a silent film, which creates for it a sort of removed surreality/abstractness which is, honestly, reminiscent of Eraserhead and Lynch's Lumiere and Company short.

What makes it Maddin's, though, is the use of imagery from his childhood (the barbershop, the hockey players, etc.) set to a blatant sexuality which goes beyond just being blatant but enforces it: you see the sexual image, and then the words follow saying exactly what you were thinking. No more subtlety and deranged fetishes, this is straight-forward Freud and primal scene.

Because of this, this film as a whole remains true to itself and never lets go of its own private Universe, one that we could never live in and yet, terribly, can relate to, figure out, and eventually even understand.

Beyond that, there's not much that can be talked about this movie besides the fact that it there's no common approach to it. It has no genre (besides maybe Silent film) and is disconcerting, requiring a certain level of viewer interaction that most movies don't ask for. For fans of strange and insane cinema, it's great; for anybody looking to be entertained, this is most definitely not for you.


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Release Date:

29 December 2004 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Cowards Bend the Knee See more »

Filming Locations:

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,030, 15 August 2004

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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