I finally caught up with Guy Maddin’s fantasy doc, My Winnipeg. Funny thing is, I could have just stepped onto the subway down my street, and two stops later, been outside the IFC Center where it’s currently screening. Instead, I paid to see it on “IFC In Theaters” VOD, from the comfort of my apartment.
It’s a beautiful masterpiece of a Canadian fever dream. Maddin (following an assignment by The Documentary Channel’s former head Michael Burns) was commissioned to make a doc about his hometown. What could have been a vanilla made-for-TV film, became a literate and magical poem. Utilizing recreations, family memories, found footage, historical facts, and Maddin’s own narration, My Winnipeg is something entirely original. It’s sentimental, yet sarcastic: a cinematic hybrid in every sense of the word. Maddin loves the town, hates the town. The town is color, it’s black-and-white. It’s actors, it’s real people. It’s an experiment, it’s familiar. It’s his Winnipeg, it’s our Winnipeg.