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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Maddining: pinning Guy down, wrinkly as a prune

Over at Offscreen, David Church takes a 12,000 word peramble with the always-loquacious Guy Maddin on what’s revving his Manitoban motor these days. On getting in the water for Cowards Bend the Knee: “I spent many hours daydreaming while swimming. Swimming requires a lot of patience and I’d swim for about an hour a day and just daydream about this movie and about things that have happened to me and how to fit it into templates established by maybe Electra or The Hands of Orlac—only to be astonished, after the swimming pool water had made my entire body as wrinkly as a prune, that all those stories somehow fit together. Maybe the soaking in the water really helped all those stories fit together; Euripides, Orlac, and my own autobiography were all the same story somehow and I got a sort of chlorine delirium everyday…. sissy_boy_slap_party_1.jpg[I] just picked up a camera and shot it, kind of from memory—just gathered all the actors together and had them act out my life as I remembered it through a haze of chlorine and amnesia. I would shout out orders, directing while operating the camera so I could make instantaneous judgments in my head. It was a real pleasure and really strange…” The almost-50 auteur’s brimming 2006-2007 roster includes a doc: “Although I’m no expert on budgets… it’s easy to forget that the most expensive element in filmmaking is time if you’re paying everybody… I think it’s got to be a little bit cheaper to use video. At least you can tape over it or something like that, although I don’t think you’re supposed to. More and more I like the look of it for certain subjects. When you’re making a documentary of a city, Winnipeg looks ugliest on video, and that might be the way to go.” Working at such velocity? “I love being busy, I really do. I’ve been a lazy person for so long in my life. It feels good to lick it for a while. I know I could slide back at any second like an alcoholic can start drinking or a smoker could light up again; I feel like I could just fall back on a couch and never get up… So I really love the feeling that putting in consecutive days, months, and years of productive time gives me.”

Plus the outspoken Maddin on a notorious local figure: “I recall you did have that Svengali-like figure who mesmerized the character of Veronkha in Archangel. “Yes, Ihor Procak is a real life Svengali, a sort of hypnotist who actually hypnotized Dorothy Stratten in a movie [Autumn Born] made in Winnipeg… Ihor Procak © RP.jpgBut Dorothy came up to Winnipeg and made a movie shortly before her death, and Ihor had a great big part in it and it was his idea to wind up a little squeaky mouse toy to hypnotize her with or something. Anyway, he’s an evil man and I always try to keep my girlfriend away from him.”

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch