Inducing goosebumps by Guy Maddin
Guy Maddin may be one of Canada's best-known unknown filmmakers. From his early, improbable success with "Tales From the Gimli Hospital," the director has relied on near-extinct film techniques to convey both a heavy dose of melodrama and a sly sense of humour. Maddin now works with international stars, but his humble origins are with the Winnipeg Film Group — a filmmakers' co-op that, over 30 years, has brought global acclaim to many Manitoba moviemakers.
• Archangel is a "part-talkie" — Maddin's homage to a brief period in film history when sound was first being grafted onto silent films.
• The movie was the first of Maddin's to have a crew, a budget ($1.1 million), a schedule and a producer.
• Careful, released in 1992, was Maddin's next movie. It was his take on a genre popular in 1930s Germany — the mountain film. It's set in the avalanche-prone alpine village of Tolzbad, a place where incestuous desires lurk under a layer of silence enforced by the risk of disaster.
• Because Manitoba lacks mountains, the film was shot on an alpine set constructed inside a grain elevator.
• Careful, made in 1992, was Maddin's last feature to be made with the Winnipeg Film Group, and his first in colour. "I was ordered [by the producers] to do the movie in colour," Maddin would recall later. "But I'm glad…it would have been uninteresting in black and white."
• For the colour, Maddin and his producer, Greg Klymkiw, recreated a process called two-step Technicolor. "In any one scene, there are no more than two colours," Klymkiw told the Globe and Mail in August 1991.
• Hollywood director Martin Scorsese — a fan of Maddin's — was scheduled to act in a small role in Careful, but had to back out. Maddin then negotiated with hockey star Bobby Hull, but he too dropped out. Maddin eventually hired Australian director Paul Cox to act in the role.
• After opening to raves ("Beautiful and inventive," "dazzlingly funny") at the New York Film Festival in the fall of 1992, Careful opened on screens in Toronto. Attendance was abysmal and the movie closed after just one week.
• "The only real themes that matter to me are how humans love each other or hate each other or are envious of each other. All the timeless stuff. But I knew that people like to toss red herrings of their own into the story, and that sooner or later people would see the caution advised in Careful as some sort of portrait of Canada. But there is no allegory; I don't want an allegory." — Guy Maddin in Kino Delerium: The Films of Guy Maddin
Program: Prime Time
Broadcast Date: Sept. 24, 1992
Guest(s): Guy Maddin
Host: Geoff Pevere
Film/photo credit: The Canada Council, The Canada Manitoba Cultural Industries Development Office, The Greg and Tracy Film Ministry, The Manitoba Arts Council, Téléfilm Canada
Last updated: March 23, 2012
Page consulted on September 10, 2014
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