My WinnipegClosed Captioning
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Have you ever wanted to relive your childhood and do things differently? Guy Maddin (The Saddest Music In the World) casts B-movie icon Ann Savage and his domineering mother in attempt to answer that question in "My Winnipeg," a hilariously wacky and profoundly touching goodbye letter to his childhood hometown. This indie film from IFC is a documentary (or "docu-fantasia" as Maddin proclaims) that blends local and personal history with surrealist images and metaphorical myths that cover everything from the fire at the local park, which leads to a frozen lake of distressed horse heads, to pivotal, sometimes traumatic, factually heightened scenes from Maddin's own childhood. "My Winnipeg" is Maddin's most personal film and a truly unique cinematic experience, winning the best Canadian film at the Toronto International Film Festival and the opening night selection of the Berlin Film Festival's Forum.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 84
- Fresh: 79
- Rotten: 5
- Average Rating: 7.9/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: This haunting phantasmagoria of a film -- comic, singular, surreal -- is not only something no one but the Canadian director could have made, it's also a film no one else would have even wanted to make. Which is the heart of its appeal.
Fresh: Guy Maddin docu about his hometown gives fans everything they'd expect, plus a few moments of unexpected sincerity.
Fresh: Much of what Maddin asserts as truth is balderdash. He was not, for example, born in the locker room of the local hockey team's arena.
Fresh: The best way to take My Winnipeg is with a box of popcorn and a grain of salt.
A Truly Unique Film
Watching this movie is more an experience than a viewing. It combines a variety of approaches to the art of filmmaking and screenwriting which, I feel, make it a film with its own voice and a distinct identity, a very rare thing these days. In its construction, Maddin experiments with contrast, color, lighting and shadow, even giving it qualities of film noir at times, which are all very interesting and make "My Winnipeg" a very visually striking movie to watch. But the script, which plays with setting, narration, point of view, character, and chronology, is what is truly amazing. It captivates the audience, pulling us into the sudden breaks, jumps, and fading twilight of the narrator's memory. But at its heart, "My Winnipeg" is an homage to childhood. It does not gloss over anything or dress the past in pretty clothing; instead, the film attempts to seek the sweetness of Winnipeg childhood in the gritty, frigid, often lurid and grotesque aspects of its character. The city itself is almost like a prescence on the screen, and the audience cannot help but sense that as the narrator changes while growing up, Winnipeg changes right along with him. Highlights of the film include the sequences concerning the reconstruction of vital scenes from the narrator's childhood, as these are the most personal and interesting as far as character development. The bit about the frozen horses protruding from the surface of the pond is deliciously disgusting and unique, at least in my experience. All around, "My Winnipeg" is quite a good little movie.
Do not watch this movie unless you project it on a screen and have relatively good sound. I loved this movie very much. It's more about the experience of watching it than it is the story. Go into it with an open mind; it is very experimental and odd.