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Guy Maddin: Waiting for Twilight

Year: 1997
Language: English
Format: Digital Betacam/16mm Colour
Runtime: 60 min
Director: Noam Gonick
Producer: Laura Michalchyshyn
Executive Producer: Ritchard Findlay
Writer: Noam Gonick, Caelum Vatnsdal
Cinematographer: Noam Gonick, Christie Léonard
Editor: Bruce Little
Sound: Russ Dyck
Music: Aradia Ensemble, Jeff Gillman
Narration: Tom Waits
Cast: R Thomson, Paul Cox, Pascale Bussières, Guy Maddin, Shelley Duvall, Frank Gorshin, Alice Krige, John Paizs, Geoff Pevere, Herdis Maddin, Bill Sciak
Production Company: Wait Inc.
This disarmingly candid documentary captures Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin as he begins production on his fourth and most elaborate film to date, Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1997). Maddin comes across as self-deprecating and cheerfully morose as he describes the collapse of his previous project, The Dykemaster's Daughter (which fell through when Telefilm Canada backed out at the last minute), and his ongoing fear that each film will be his last. Whether on set in an abandoned Winnipeg foundry surrounded by a herd of ostriches, in bed with the flu, or getting yet another bad haircut, Maddin contemplates his life and art with rare frankness.

Perfectly complementing Maddin’s own oeuvre, Guy Maddin: Waiting for Twilight achieves a synthesis of madcap parody, retro-aesthetics and dreamy poeticism the late Jean Cocteau would have applauded. It reveals many fascinating personal details of Maddin’s life; he recounts childhood memories of his stint as a stick boy for Canada’s national hockey team and reeking of perm solution from hanging out in his mother’s hair salon. The film also touches on the tragedies of Maddin’s past, including his father’s death and his older brother’s suicide.

Director Noam Gonick, a former pupil of Maddin’s, intercuts these musings with clips from Maddin’s earlier films and interviews with his collaborators and admirers, including actors Pascale BussiPres and Shelley Duvall, filmmakers Paul Cox and John Paizs and critic Geoff Pevere. Fused together by the irreverently poetic narration of Tom Waits (a Maddin fan who had to turn down a part in Ice Nymphs because of a scheduling conflict), Gonick’s portrait of the filmmaker neatly constructs a vital impression of this unique, creative talent. Guy Maddin: Waiting for Twilight was heralded on the festival circuit and went on to a successful life on television.

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