PRINT December 2001


Guy Maddin


1. Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff) This movie harpoons me! The director of Crumb adopts Daniel Clowes’s comic book, limning out the hopelessly trapped characters making do in hopeless times—without being mean-spirited. Exquisite agony!

2. The Blue Bird (Maurice Tourneur) OK, this silent came out in 1918, but it screened around this year (and it’s on VHS, from Grapevine Video). Maeterlinck’s children’s play is as cruel and strange as anything by Hans Christian Andersen. Happily full of beautiful early homages to Méliès.

3. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Steven Spielberg) The year’s longest love letter to mother. The avalanche of real feeling pushed me through Spielberg’s obnoxious surfaces clear into a place of true desolation, a place without popcorn or Twizzlers.

4. Hey, Happy! (Noam Gonick) Blake Edwards’s The Party transplanted to the Winnipeg rave scene. Equal parts crystal meth and Old Yeller.

5. FILM(dzama) (deco dawson) This twenty-minute short started out as a profile of artist Marcel Dzama and ended up a narcotically edited, rapturously degraded film poem.

6. In Absentia (Brothers Quay) In the twin animators’ live-action, close-up study of a mad woman furiously scribbling letters to her dead husband, the forlornness of pencil lead is inscribed on our brains to the excruciating drones of Stockhausen.

7. Fat Girl (Catherine Breillat) A brutal sexual polemic buried in the Garden of the Deflowered. So savage that I had to watch through splayed fingers.

8. Dog Days (Ulrich Seidl) Austrian film recipe is equal parts Vinterberg, Korine, and Tati!

9. Kandahar (Mohsen Makhmalbaf) Hope and despair walk together in this Iranian film, which features an unforgettable scene of land-mine victims scrabbling toward dozens of prosthetic legs suspended in the sky by tiny parachutes.

10. Freddy Got Fingered (Tom Green) Patriotically, I include fellow Canadian Green’s one-note ragefest, if only because he plays that organ with the sausage mobile all roped up to it.

Guy Maddin’s short The Heart of the World won the US National Society of Film Critics Award for the Best Experimental Film of 2000.