directed by Guy Maddin
Canada 2007

 

My Winnipeg winds its way through the birthplace of personal mythologies, attempting to understand the nature of memory. Equal parts mystical rumination and personal history, city chronicle and deranged post-Freudian proletarian fantasy, My Winnipeg blends local myth with childhood trauma, all narrated with director Maddin's usual entertaining and inspired energy. Commissioned by Michael Burns whose command was 'enchant me with your treatment' this was Maddin's cue to set about exploring the spell of his home town. By mixing animation, archive and re-enactments he has created an extraordinary visual homage in true indivivdual Guy Maddin style. The film won the Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto Film Festival. Special features include an interview with the director, Guy Maddin, at the BFI Southbank.

Synopsis
Canadian director Guy Maddin (THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD) takes his quasi-documentary strain of filmmaking to a satisfying, and deliriously inventive, extreme with MY WINNIPEG. The film follows Maddin, who narrates and plays the character of Darcy Fehr, as he tries to escape the Canadian city of Winnipeg. Maddin grew up in Winnipeg and spent his entire life there. The city seems to be casting a magnetic hold over him, so he decides to film his way out. He moves a cast of actors into his childhood home, asking them to recreate pivotal moments from his upbringing. Here the family gathers to undertake mundane chores and to watch a TV show named 'Ledge Guy'. The show stars Maddin's mother as a woman who tries to stop her son from committing suicide in each episode. Maddin couples these scenes with a warped history of Winnipeg, which include stories of a legendary racetrack fire and the sad tale of the city's ailing ice hockey team.

MY WINNIPEG finds Maddin sticking closely to the filmmaking style that he developed in features such as COWARDS BEND THE KNEE and BRAND UPON THE BRAIN. The film apes silent-era techniques; shots fall in and out of focus; and Maddin uses Super-8, 16mm, and even a cell phone camera to help drive his vision. The B-movie star Ann Savage gives a wonderfully hammy performance as Maddin's mother, and the director's voiceover commentary demonstrates both his fondness for and his frustration with Winnipeg. It's difficult to ascertain how much truth there is in Maddin's recollections of the city's chequered history, but this only adds to the heightened sense of absurdity. MY WINNIPEG is a fine example of Maddin's extraordinary talents, and provides ample proof that he is one of the most resourceful and innovative filmmakers in the independent film scene.

***

If you love movies in the very sinews of your imagination, you should experience the work of Guy Maddin. If you have never heard of him, I am not surprised. Now you have. A new Maddin movie doesn't play in every multiplex, city or state. If you hear of one opening, seize the day. Or search where obscure films can be found. You will be plunged into the mind of a man who thinks in the images of old silent films, disreputable documentaries, movies that never were, from eras beyond comprehension. His imagination frees the lurid possibilities of the banal. He rewrites history; when that fails, he creates it.

First, a paragraph of dry fact. Maddin makes films that use the dated editing devices of old movies: iris shots, breathless titles, shock cutting, staged poses, melodramatic acting, recycled footage, camera angles not merely dramatic but startling. He uses these devices to tell stories that begin with the improbable and march boldly into the inconceivable. My paragraph is ending now, and you have seen how difficult it is to describe his work. I will end with two more statements: (1) Shot for shot, Maddin can be as surprising and delightful as any filmmaker has ever been, and (2) he is an acquired taste, but please, sir, may I have some more?

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: September 7th, 2007 - The Toronto Film Festival

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DVD Comparison: 

Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL

(Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Seville Pictures

Region 0 - NTSC

Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:19.42 1:16:39 (4% PAL Speedup)
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.10 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.45 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Bitrate; Seville

Bitrate: Soda

Audio English (Dolby Digital - 5.1) English (Dolby Digital - 2.0)
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None None
Features Release Information:
Studio: S
eville Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Academy ratio - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• "Winnipeg" Animated Video (2:54 - 4:3)

Guy Maddin Short Films
• Spanky - to the Pier and Back (3:55 - 4:3)
• Berlin (1:02 - 4:3)
• Odin's Shield Maiden (4:29 - widescreen letterboxed)
• 'My Winnipeg - Live in Toronto'
(8:59 - 1:78 - 16X9)

DVD Release Date: October 28th, 2008
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio:
Soda Pictures (UK)

Aspect Ratio:
Academy ratio - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Guy Maddin career interview at Southbank (55:38 - 1:78 - 16X9)
• 'My Winnipeg - Live in Toronto' (9:01 - 1:78 - 16X9)
• "Winnipeg" Animated Video (2:55 - 4:3)

• "Your Winnipeg" - In Case I Disappear (Simon Aeppli) - 3:07 - 4:3


DVD Release Date: October 27th, 2008
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters 7

 

Comments

Both are dual-layered but I lean towards the Canadian Seville edition for the superior transfer as it has much more grain and is moderately sharper. It also shows more digital noise but the Soda image quality is strangely softer beside the NTSC release. It almost looks like a touch of DNR - although one might find this too sophisticated a manipulation for rendering to this particular DVD. Contrast also seems better defined in the Seville edition. While none of this is probably a deal-breaker as the Maddin's wonderful cinema is so filled with the arcane visual roots of cinematography - one might wonder if the slim difference in appearance is important. Personally - I think it does as a matter of sinking oneself into the film presentation. In fact, I'd prefer to see this, in all it's gritty glory, on the higher resolution of Blu-ray. I suspect it would look magnificent. 

 

The Seville is superior in the audio department as well with a 5.1 offering as compared to the UK 2.0 channel. This doesn't have the extravagant mix separations of HD but the soundtrack does tend to be more enveloping than in the sole front-speaker driven Soda Pictures edition. Again, it may not be a deal-breaker in itself but smaller details often combine to advance your viewing to the next emotive level. The UK DVD has no subtitles where the Canadian offers optional English, French and Spanish - as well as English or French menus as the first choice when you pop the DVD in.

Supplements are the bigger dividing point here.... and both have viable extras. Duplicated are the 9-minute 'My Winnipeg - Live in Toronto' piece where, on June 18th, 2008, My Winnipeg was presented 'live' at the Royal Cinema in Toronto. Also on both is the 3-minute Winnipeg animated feature by Maddin friend and colleague Andy Smetanko (who, we are told was born in Missoula, Montana - birthplace of <drum roll>... David Lynch!) The Seville includes 3 Maddin shorts - Spanky - to the Pier and Back, Berlin and Odin's Shield Maiden - running less than a total of 10-minutes and each is 4:3 and 480i. Perhaps the best extra though belongs to the Soda Pictures disc with the Guy Maddin Career interview at Southbank just shy of an hour on - hosted by Sandra Hebron - artistic director of festivals at the BFI. This is very interesting and informative - a must-see for Maddin fans. Soda Pictures have also thrown in 'Your Winnipeg' - the winning selection from the short film competition launched by Soda Pictures. It's entitled 'In Case I Disappear' by Simon Aeppli and as described in the DVD menu as '...features objects, photographs, notebooks and footage relating to the his home of Eden, Northern Ireland. Using a fragmented, collage-like form it explores issues of memory and loss and maps out the geography of this eccentric and troubled place'. So with these extra features I endorse the Soda Pictures for supplements.

So, how can we talk about two seperate My Winnipeg DVDs without mentioning the loveliest of lovelies, the late, Ann Savage? Her grace and charm will be sorely missed. Maddin's vision is so many things - unique, obscure, adventuresome, and probably most of all - too intimate to accurately describe. If you've seen his work before - then the desirability to indulge in more of his cinema is either inherently there - or it is totally absent. For those that do partake it is akin to a seductive memory drug - one than may not be too easy to lose its addictive qualities. Both discs have excellent value, in my opinion, and we encourage you, at any rate, to see the film in this convenient and versatile home theater format - whenever you can! 

- Gary Tooze    

 


DVD Menus

 

(Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)
 

 


Screen Captures

 

NOTE: We have kept the captures in their native resolutions!

 

(Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


(Seville Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Seville (slight)

Sound:

Seville

Extras: Soda Pictures

 


DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Seville Pictures

Region 0 - NTSC

Soda Pictures - Region 2 - PAL




 

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