There’s a comforting ease (or laziness) to writing about a new Guy Maddin, regardless of one’s ultimate opinion of the film itself. Maddin is one of those rare filmmakers who neither progresses nor retreats, neither stultifies nor excites. His intricately Lilliputian creativity, his faux-naiveté, and his not-quite smugness operate blissfully free of the relevant or the revelatory, at the comfortable junction of hobbyism and careerism. Kino Delirium, indeed—as with all Maddin (excluding, perhaps, the blessedly brief and rather exhilarating The Heart of the World), all declarations of extremity are cozily couched in quotation marks. Is the enthusiastic embrace of each new offering at least partially due to the fact that one need never risk being moved? Maddin might be or might have been a wild man in his much publicized (not least by himself) private life, but any grand passion in his films is pitched solely in the key of twee. Maddin’s cannibalized, half-imaginary evocations of the cinematic past—shreds of German Expressionism, film noir, and Soviet proletkult wrapped up with the arcana of the Canadian flatlands—renders his films blessedly harmless; indeed, their preciousness is their armor. What rough soul would fain skewer such an innocuous bauble?
What to say, then, of My Winnipeg? The same—perhaps a little more so? Certainly a higher degree of dependably mild amusement (can mildness be heightened?) and a greater volume of genuine, unforced laughs. Click here to read all of Andrew Tracy’s review of Guy Maddin’s My Winnpeg.