Newcomers to the films of Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin have a small hurdle to climb at first: The man's work doesn't always make a whole lot of sense. His approach has more to do with form than narrative function, and part of the pleasure of watching them is seeing how deftly he captures the feel of classic silent film. His six-minute masterpiece from 2000, The Heart of the World, ran Soviet classics like Potemkin and Man With a Movie Camera through a blender and wound up with a magnificent tribute to the speed that montage styling can create; Odilon Redon worked a similar magic with the Melies brothers' style. But hanging with Maddin means hanging with the strange totems that pop up throughout his work: Orthodox crosses, bagpipes, ostriches, hockey sticks, and so on, all for the sake of storytelling that may or may not be about love, lust, God, war, family, and the very nature of film itself.
However strange the results may be, they're a joy to watch, which is why I said that Maddin's obscurantism is a small hurdle. It's still a hurdle, though, which is why his 2002 film Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary may be the best place to get to know the man's work. After all, you already know the story, and goodness knows that Francis Ford Coppola's attempt to make a coherent tale out of it didn't help that particular take on it.
Continue reading: Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary Review