Awards & Rankings
Winnepeg filmmaker Guy Maddin isn't known for run-of-the-mill movies, but the feature he debuted at the Toronto Fest was outrageous even for him. A silent film taking the form of a twelve-chapter Feuillade-flavored serial and designed to have live accompaniment, the movie itself is a match for any of his features to date, and could outstrip earlier efforts in the arthouse arena.
Billed as a silent film, Guy Maddin's Brand Upon the Brain! is actually closer to a live theatrical event -- a feature-length motion picture screened with the accompaniment of a live orchestra, plus Foley artists, sound effects technicians and assorted vocalists, too. Together, they provide the elaborate soundscape for a typically frenetic, Maddin-esque amalgam of the autobiographical, Freudian and willfully absurd.
Not to discredit its wild artistry by saying the gimmick's the prize, but . . . the gimmick's the prize. Without all the hoopla, there simply isn't enough variation to this stylized fever-dream to justify its fatiguing running time, nor to call it anything less than predictably Maddin–esque.