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The Heart of the World

Year: 2000
Language: English
Format: 35mm Black & White
Runtime: 6 min
Director: Guy Maddin
Producer: Jody Shapiro, Jennifer Weiss
Executive Producer: Niv Fichman
Writer: Guy Maddin
Cinematographer: deco dawson, Guy Maddin
Editor: deco dawson, Guy Maddin
Sound: David McCallum, Lou Solakofski
Music: Georgi Sviridov
Cast: Leslie Bais, Caelum Vatnsdal, Shaun Balbar, Hryhory Klymkiew, Tammy Gillis, Carson Nattrass
Production Company: Rhombus Media

A six-minute short originally commissioned as part of the Preludes series for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Toronto International Film Festival®, this multiple award-winning short film – heralded by many critics as one of the best films of the year, regardless of length – is a loving parody of the silent Soviet cinema of Sergei Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin, and of silent movie melodrama in general.

Evoking classic silent films, early horror films, chapter serials and propaganda reels, The Heart of the World tells the mythic story of Anna, a state scientist, and the two brothers who vie for her love while she tries to save the world from the evil capitalist, Akmatov.

With a reported eight hundred and fifty separate edits in less than six minutes, the film’s rhythmic use of intertitles and sentence fragments creates a forceful visual poetry.Possessed of Maddin’s typically casual morbidity and uniquely avant-garde sense of humour, The Heart of the World is the most concise – and perhaps most successful – articulation of Maddin’s signature cinematic genius.

The Heart of the World received a number of awards and accolades in Canada, the United States and Europe and has very quickly become considered one of the best short films ever made. It scored a Genie Award for Live Action Short Drama and was named the year’s Best Experimental Film by the National Society of Film Critics (USA).

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