A big collection of films that might be considered as strange, mindfucking, surreal and weird. Sorted by year. Suggestions are…
I'm only a ghost...but a ghost isn't nothing
Gangster and deadbeat dad, Ulysses Pick, embarks on an unusual journey through his home.
Film #4 in The June Challenge
Guy Maddin's Keyhole is an amalgam of the gangster and horror genres, blended together into an absurdist and expressionistic portrayal of memory and guilt. The film is incredibly strange, focusing on the main character's odyssey through his home as he works to recover his memories and receive forgiveness from his wife.
The entirety of the film takes place in Ulysses' home, with a mingling of the past and present through the spectral manifestations of the characters' memories. The gangster scenes of the film are darkly comic, with a lot of humourous dialogue, which stands in stark contrast to the eerie atmosphere of the film. Even a few of the ghosts are presented in comedic…
Intoxicating! Maddin's films always feel like a hallucinatory drug to me. A trip into altered states of mind. I thought Keyhole was brilliant and still very true to Maddin's unique style of film making. But what is ironic here in Keyhole is it is not Maddin's trademark superimposing lightning speed editing and psychotic visuals that overpowers the film, it is actually an acting performance. One done by Jason Patric who seizes his role with an almighty forcefulness. Maddin continues to do what he does best, twist the medium into something strange, demented and above all original. Keep doing what you are doing Guy. 8/10
Hodgepodge of genre iconography and themes of family trauma strained through Maddin's typically rigorous aesthetic sifter. To what end? I have no clue.
"Never trust your eyes" our hero is told - and Maddin's delirious trompe-l'oeil style is uniquely suited to a world (as in My Winnipeg) where fantasy is indistinguishable from reality, ghosts from the living, and a tragic twist from a bad memory. He cuts almost as often as Michael Bay, and this isn't one of his funnier films (despite "milk-drinking Ned" and yahtzee-playing Brucie), but it's a triumphant meld of genres, mostly film noir and hothouse family drama, and the melancholy ambience - "sorrow lingers"; nothing can be fixed; you can put furniture back the way it was, but you can't replace a life - keeps the dazzling style grounded. Maddin may seem a little samey now, and not always deep or substantial (though students of pernicious patriarchy - a disembodied penis! - may beg to differ), but posterity will cherish his single-mindedness as it does Cocteau's and Von Sternberg's.
The amateur whirlwind of Maddin's worst opening slowly gives way to an absorbing surrealist mystery. It's like a dream that takes place at this family house looming with Freudian symbolism (though with all those perky breasts and ill-fitting wife-beaters Maddin could stand to turn up the Kenneth Anger knob of his personality, which thankfully provides at least a scene where David Wontner is naked in ropes). What at first felt the least like Maddin's work due to its community theater acting and Baby's First Editing Suite style becomes as quintessentially Maddin as all the rest, a creepy, hilarious expressionist illustration of the bonds of family.
A naked old man in chains runs around whipping people, Isabella Rossellini positively glows, and…
I was pretty tired when I saw this at TIFF 11, so I thought I'd give it another shot, but my opinion - I found the narrative frustratingly opaque, many of the performances stilted, the humour flat, the editing seemingly random, rhythm and lyricism largely absent - is largely unchanged. Only at the very end does it seem to be coming together, but even then I'm not sure exactly what it is trying to say - maybe something about recreating the past to dispel the ghosts of unhappy times that followed? Colour me confounded.
Read my NPR review.
A naked old man chained in the attic watches over his daughter. Mobsters hole themselves downstairs as the police form a perimeter around the mansion. The recently drowned girl among them is suspiciously cognizant. Such is the world of Guy Maddin’s Keyhole, and to anyone who has previously acquainted themselves with the Canadian auteur’s phantasmagorias, little comes as a surprise. Long before The Artist, Maddin has painstakingly attempted to recreate the look of silent and early sound cinema, drawing much from the likes of F.W. Murnau and Robert Wiene. Keyhole might be his easiest to pigeonhole into any sort of genre – it is roughly a film noir, with a melodramatic narrative as seen through the eyes of a haunted,…
Certain movies require second or third viewings :(
I'm generally a Maddin fan, but this was painful.
I wish I could bump this up a half star or so and I went back and forth on doing that simply because I love the concept, but in the end it doesn't sustain itself as well as say, a David Lynch Maybe on a rewatch. Still, I have to give it a lot of credit for trying. A movie with both Udo Kier and Kevin McDonald is going to be something special, no matter what.
"That penis is getting dusty."
One thing you can rely on about Guy Maddin films, you're never in doubt whether you're watching one or not. That may be the only thing.
Keyhole may be the most bizarre adaptation of Homer‘s The Odyssey ever made. A gangster by the name of Ulysses (Jason Patric) holes up in his house with a group of gangsters and a whole host of ghosts. Police are gathered outside but that’s not what concerns Ulysses. Rather, he drags along a blind young woman and his son (whom he doesn’t recognize) around the house, searching for his wife (who has her father chained up nude to her bed) and encountering the many ghosts that inhabit the house.
If you’re coming into a Guy Maddin movie looking for one of those things called “a straightforward plot” you obviously don’t know who Guy Maddin is. Where most of his films…
This was my first Guy Maddin film, but I kind of knew what to expect going in so I wasn't completely thrown off by the weirdness. I was surprised at how straight-up funny the movie was, while still maintaining the weird, haunted-house vibe. This definitely intrigued me about seeing more Guy Maddin films when possible.
- A Page of Madness
- Un Chien Andalou
- L'âge d'or
- Meshes of the Afternoon
- Brand Upon the Brain!
- The Holy Mountain
- The Pitfall
- Meshes of the Afternoon
A genre/favorite list or rather sub-genre list of films containing surreal elements. Things that are so far gone and titter…
- Thou Gild'st the Even
- Our Heroes Died Tonight
- Computer Chess
Είναι πολύ περισσότερο από όσα νομίζουμε. Αλλά και πολλά από αυτά πανέμορφα, να λέμε και την αλήθεια.