I just respect audiences to understand that that’s what goes on in movies. I just try to make movies that respect the intelligence of the audience. Respect that they understand that the narrator is always unreliable and respect that they understand that the medium can do whatever it wants.
The last few days I’ve been perusing the depths of the streaming service from The Criterion Collection – more specifically, looking at the films that are going away at the end of July.
I have discovered a director that I had never known before – a Canadian named Guy Maddin. He makes very unusual and unique films – many of which are done in a style that looks a lot (at first glance, at least) like something made in the early part of the twentieth century – high contrast, black and white or oversaturated color, little dialog with occasional title cards…. such as that. Very odd and crazy stuff.
One film that I watched and really, really liked was The Forbidden Room. After a brief introduction from Marv, who talks about how to take a bath – the plot begins on a doomed submarine carrying a cargo of unstable explosives. There is a knock on a hatch and a woodsman is revealed – drenched in fresh water – and neither he nor the crew can figure out how or why he is there. And then things get really weird.
The structure of the movie is like a series of Russian nesting dolls. Stories inside of stories inside of stories. It is surprisingly consistent about working its way back out again.
There is even a song “The Final Derriere” from a favorite band of mine from decades ago, Sparks.
I was able to look beyond the weirdness and had a good time watching it. In the trailer above, Sight and Sound magazine said, “Has more ideas in ten minutes than most filmmakers have in their entire oeuvres.” And that is what I liked – the interesting concepts, themes, and characters come from the screen like bullets from a machine gun.
Guy Maddin has some other work on the channel that go back into the ether in a few days. Have to get crackin’.