Director Guy Maddin returns with a silent film fantasy, set in the world of a hockey rink. Maddin has earlier made a series of highly stylized and original films, among them Careful and Tales from the Gimli Hospital, and he returns in style. As far as narrative goes, this film is about a young man whose new girlfriend is obsessed with the thought of avenging her dead father. Her newly found boyfriend becomes, with the aid of the vengeful hands of the dead father, an evil instrument in this quest of retribution.But film is not all about narrative, and certainly not so when it comes to Maddin. The exposition of the film is highly melodramatic and excessive, with the angry scissors of montage tearing through the visual fabric, sending bodies and gestures swirling through space. In this way, Maddin harkens to a long cinematic tradition ranging from Vertov and Eisenstein, and also Murnau, of the silent era, and onward to a whole line of “outsider” or “gay” filmmaking: Kenneth Anger, Fassbinder, John Waters, maybe even someone like Nic Roeg or David Lynch. Traces of cartoon violence, Tex Avery and others, can also be detected. Film as spectacle and excess: you just gotta love it.HENRIK MJÖRNES

Title
Cowards Bend the Knee
Director
Guy Maddin
Country
Canada
Length
60 min
Festival
2003
Section
Collage
Language
English
Production year
2003
Cast
Darcy Fehr,Melissa Dionisio,Amy Stewart
Producer
Philip Monk
Script
Guy Maddin

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See all films from the 2003 festival