Into the Past: The Cinema of Guy Maddin

Into the Past: The Cinema of Guy Maddin

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by William Beard

University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2010
World Rights
504 Pages
ISBN 9781442610668
Published May 2010
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ISBN 9781442641396
Published May 2010
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ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442698482
Published May 2010
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Guy Maddin started making films in his back yard and on his kitchen table. Now his unique work, which relies heavily on such archaic means as black and white small-format cinematography and silent-film storytelling, premieres at major film festivals around the world and is avidly discussed in the critical press. Into the Past provides a complete and systematic critical commentary on each of Maddin's feature films and shorts, from his 1986 debut film The Dead Father through to his highly successful 2008 full-length 'docu-fantasia' My Winnipeg.

William Beard's extensive analysis of Maddin's narrative and aesthetic strategies, themes, influences, and underlying issues also examines the origins and production history of each film. Each of Maddin's projects and collaborations showcase his gradual evolution as a filmmaker and his singular development of narrative forms. Beard's close readings of these films illuminate, among other things, the profound ways in which Maddin's art is founded in the past - both in the cultural past, and in his personal memory.

William Beard is a professor and film studies program director in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta.



Acknowledgements iii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: The Dead Father 18

Chapter 2: Tales from the Gimli Hospital 31

Chapter 3: Archangel 66

Chapter 4: Careful 122

Chapter 5: Twilight of the Ice Nymphs 181

Chapter 6: Dracula—Pages from a Virgin's Diary 232

Chapter 7: Cowards Bend the Knee 271

Chapter 8: The Saddest Music in the World 335

Chapter 9: Brand Upon the Brain! 389

Chapter 10: My Winnipeg 452

Envoi 517

Appendix: The Short Films 520

Bibliography 581

'Canada's most original and enigmatic filmmaker has found a superb interlocutor. William Beard demonstrates his deep and broad understanding of film history in these detailed, incisive, heartfelt, and sometimes playful interpretations of Guy Maddin's personal and artistic life.'

Scott Forsyth, Department of Film, York University

'It seems entirely possible that with Into the Past, Guy Maddin has found his most committed exegete. Not only is William Beard deeply invested in the Maddin oeuvre; he appears to have studied every available scrap in his filmography and compiled an impressive array of production information. For anyone seeking guidance in the Maddin labyrinth, Beard offers not only a treasure chest, but a map showing us the way to many of the jewels.'

Jonathan Rosenbaum, author of Essential Cinema: On the Necessity of Film Canons and Discovering Orson Welles

Into the Past is an impressive in-depth look at all of the major works in the Maddin inventory and more than a glance at almost everything else Maddin has ever produced. This immaculate achievement comprises a close set of readings and analysis that could only have been driven by a scholar happily lost in the funhouse of the material.

Noreen Golfman, Literary Review of Canada

'To use a culinary metaphor, Into the Past is a grand entrée on which the chef has expanded a deal of thought and time. In terms of Maddin's work, Beard is the master chef and Into the Past his pièce de résistance.'

George Melnyk, Great Plains Quarterly, Spring 2011