The third feature of the wild and weird Guy Maddin, the brilliant independent Canadian filmmaker (Tales From the Gimli Hospital, Archangel) based in Winnipeg whose poker-faced period extravaganzas all suggest early, scratchy talkies. This 1992 film is his first in color, but that means various subdued pastels in some spots, lush tinting of black-and-white footage in others. The typically outrageous plot–set in a remote alpine village where everyone has to speak in whispers to avoid setting off avalanches and where other forms of everyday repression result in diverse cases of deranged incestual lust–seems characteristic of Maddin in its dual nature: in part a hilarious satire about Canadian timidity, it also comes across periodically as a formalist gem about nothing at all. The ably somnambulistic cast includes Australian director Paul Cox and Canadian character actor Jackie Burroughs, along with Sarah Neville, Brent Neale, and Victor Cowie in prominent parts; film academic George Toles (who also worked on Archangel) assisted Maddin on the script. If you like the early work of David Lynch you should definitely check this out; Maddin’s work is every bit as beautiful and in certain respects a lot more sophisticated. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, January 14 through 20.

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