Amoeblog

The evolution of the music video, part II (1950s - 1960s)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 6, 2009 01:45pm | Post a Comment
As persuasively and incontestably argued in The evolution of the music video, part I  (1890s - 1940s), the music video began not in the '80s, as is often wrongly assumed, but the '90s... the 1890s (if we accept the basic concept of videos being one stand-alone work of one song/one visual). From the humble sound experiments at the dawn of the celluloid age through the artistic flowering of Soundies, many musical promos were created of high historical and artistic importance. In the 1950s and '60s, videos moved from bars and clubs to the living room, as television became the new venue for music promotion.

Cineboxes, Scopitones and Color-Sonics
According to the Quixotic Internet Accuracy Project, the term "music video" was coined by DJ (VJ?) J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson in 1959. That year, the Cinebox hit the scene, essentially following in the footsteps of Soundies by manufacturing videos for what was essentially a jukebox with a visual component. In 1965, the Cinebox was re-branded the Colorama in the US. The following year it was again re-branded, this time as the Cinejukebox.


   









Scopitones followed Cineboxes, hitting the French market in 1960 and making their way to the US in 1964. The similar Color-sonics followed in 1966.

 













 

Canada was a pioneer in moving the music video from various video jukeboxes to the television. Singalong Jubilee debuted in 1961 on the CBC, 23 years before the debut of Much. In addition to featuring musicians playing in the studios, artists were also filmed on location. The show was based in Halifax. Music videos proved an ideal alternative to a punishing journey across the vast, frozen wastelands of the north just to play a song or two before returning home. Sadly, I can't find any videos from the program.

As we've now seen, music videos were around for 61 years before The Beatles got in on the act. And yet, many still insist that they invented the music video. As the Fab Four began to make studio-enhanced psychedelia that was difficult to come anywhere near re-creating on stage, they stopped touring and relied on music videos as the main way of promoting their music, perhaps giving rise to the myth of their having had a hand in the format's creation. Many of their peers followed suit, often engaging in the lighthearted shenanigans apparently so popular with English teenagers of the 1960s. The Doors, including as they did a couple of film students, were generally more dour.





































Australia, like Canada, is characterized by tiny outposts of humanity spread across an enormous, unforgiving countryside. Following the Canadians' lead, Australia did more to establish television as the venue for music videos than any other country. With the UK and US millions of miles away, the Australians ended up regularly making their own videos for songs by bands unwilling to cross the globe. By 1966, Australian bands regularly made videos for their new releases. That year, The Black Diamonds (after encountering bushfires and blizzards in their attempts to tour) became the first "country" band to sign to a major without having set foot in the capital. A year later, The Masters Apprentices made a color video, which was just showing off, because Australia successfully resisted conversion to color TV until 1975.

Canada Day -- I Passed For American -or- A Day Without a Canadian

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 1, 2009 05:00pm | Post a Comment


CANADA DAY

Today is Canada Day, a day no doubt celebrated in a manner designed not to attract too much attention. Canada is the home of the quiet revolution, after all. Most likely, their national day is marked by knowing glances. Such is the Canadian character that their national day is not marked with fireworks, guns in the air or vuvuzelas. Though Candians are stereotyped as quiet, harmless and polite pacifists who eat ketchup chips, how do we reconcile that peaceful image with the knowledge that their main export seems to be ice beer and that when they're not knocking each others teeth out in the hockey rink, they're clubbing baby seals with Neil Peart-like percussive overkill? Indeed, how much do we really know about our neighbors north of the border and the threat they pose? What harm is there in Canadians running Hollywood, you ask? They’re only doing the work Americans won’t, you say. In one three year stretch, the best actress category of the Oscars went to Canadians. Mary Pickford, Norma Shearer and Marie Dressler all took the Oscar back to Canada. That’s $1,500 of gold-plated britannium, or 1,303 loonies.

  

THE CANADIAN THREAT
If movies and TV series like Blade Runner, V, Alien Nation, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Battlestar Galactica and The Day the Earth Stood Still have taught us anything, it’s that when aliens are allowed to live in peace amongst us it’s never a good idea. Though they invariably claim to come in peace, the proper response is that they to go in pieces. Due to blissful American ignorance and our welcoming disposition toward immigrants, most of us are wholly unaware when and how many Canadians are among us. Although a phrenologist could see right through their smiling faces to their true nature, your average American when near a Canadian merely gets a tingling sensation and an inexplicable unease. With good reason too, when one becomes aware of how far reaching Canadian tentacles are in our society… *tingle* cos (Canadian over shoulder)…


CANADIAN INFILTRATION OF HOLLYWOOD AND PERVERSION OF AMERICA
Canadians have been in Hollywood since its birth, defining and exporting a Canadian-constructed view of the USA whilst funneling profits back across the border to spend on waffle production, flannel shirts and their communistic healthcare system. Consider, in modern time, the Canadian-directed Titanic, which was designed with soulless calculation and Borg-like effeciency to push America’s collective emotional buttons. As a result it became the highest grossing film of all time. Even in the early days, Canadian filmmaking has always been geared toward making their profits in America. In olden times, actors like Ruby Keeler, Florence Lawrence, Beatrice Lillie, Glenn Ford, Walter Huston, Mary Pickford, Douglas Shearer, Norma Shearer, Jay Silverheels, Fay Wray and Marie Dressler passed as Americans at the expense of our domestic acting force. They were aided from behind the scenes because those pulling the strings were also often Canadian, including Louis B. Mayer, Mack Sennet, Jack Warner, Edward Dmytryk and Arthur Hiller. In modern times, James Cameron, Paul Haggis, Norman Jewison, Lorne Michaels and Ivan Reitman have continued the dirty work begun by the cadre of the secretly-Canadian.

In the book Stardust and Shadows: Canadians in Early Hollywood, author Charles Foster recounts his discovery of the secret Canadian network, then in its initial phase of infiltration, which he learned of through Canadian director Sidney Olcott. Though a complete stranger to the members of the organization, as a fellow Canadian he was embraced merely on the basis of his national origins. Once inside, he met Walter Pidgeon, Deanna Durbin, Fifi D’Orsay and others. He also reveals that Louis B. Mayer was a racialist known to hire Canadian compatriots without audition and purely on the basis of their race.

  

CANADIAN EROSION OF AMERICAN VALUES
Firmly entrenched in our movie machine, Canadians have deliberately defined and warped our notions of ourselves. Florence “The Biograph Girl” Lawrence was our first movie star. Mary Pickford was appointed “America’s Sweetheart.” More recently, blond, Canadian, silicone cyborg Pamela Anderson has served as an example of all that is wrong with America and is one of al-qaeda’s main recruitment tools, and she’s not even one of us. What do Margot Kidder and Erica Durance and Kristen Kreuk have in common? All are Canadian and as Lois Lanes and Lana Lang, they’ve portrayed the most desirable women in the world to one as powerful as the Last Son of Krypton, who can fly around the world, reverse time and basically have his pick of most of the world’s three billion women.

  

THE SINISTER SIDE
Canadians consciously control Hollywood to make themselves seem benign, even American. Behind the scenes, they engage in all kinds of sordid, society-eroding behavior. The alcohol and drug-addled Jack Pickford's efforts to despoil our women were legendary. One of his wives, Olive Thomas, suspiciously died from poisoning. It seems her maple syrup contained lethal doses of cyanide. In an even more sinister case, Canadian Florence La Badie mothered Woodrow Wilson’s child out of wedlock as part of a larger Canadian scheme to take over the White House. Luckily, someone tampered with her brakes and she died in a car crash. Why don’t we hear about the sinister side of Canadians? Obviously because they own the media. Canadian newscaster Peter Jennings rose to the top of his field by carefully making sure to never pronounce “lieutenant” as “left-tenant.” When most foreign actors appear on late night shows, they always have some cute anecdote about the differences between their culture and ours. But you never hear a Canadian talk about their culture. Why not play up their foreignness and enjoy Americans' Canuckphilia? Why? What are they hiding? Is it any coincidence that Canadian Ryan Renolds plays the American in The Proposal who marries a Canadian played by American Sandra Bullock to get her a green card? No, they want to disable our ability to distinguish them from us.

    

FUNNY CANUCKS
Not only do Canadians try to pass as American, they also try to make us laugh. Although seemingly nonmalignant, laughter can be an insidious tool, used to disarm and distract those who we should remain wary of. Just look at this list of prominent Canadian merry-andrews:

John Candy, Dan Akroyd, Michael J. Fox, Mike Myers, Eugene Levy, Tom Green, Phil Hartman, Michael Cera, Tommy Chong, Hume Cronyn, Jim Carey, James Doohan, Dave Foley, Matt Frewer, Robert Goulet, Will Arnett, Gene Lockhart, Norm MacDonald, Howie Mandel, Rick Moranis, Catherine O'Hara, Matthew Perry, Seth Rogen, Will Sasso, Martin Short and Alan Thicke.

    

GOOD LOOKING CANUCKS
Another tool to make people drop their guard is being really, really good looking. If Canadians can’t make us laugh, they use their Dracula-like powers to seduce us to do their bidding. In moments of clarity, it turns out that many of them aren’t that good looking, but, controlling the media and Hollywood, they set our standard of beauty. If you haven’t watched Lifeforce, you should. Consider:

Sarah Polley, Adam Beach, Raymond Burr, Neve Campbell, Kim Cattrall, Hayden Christensen, Rae Dawn Chong, Elisha Cuthbert, Brendan Fraser, Ryan Gosling, Grace Park, Lorne Greene, Graham Greene, Corey Haim, Michael Ironside, Elias Koteas, Mia Kirschner, Sandra Oh, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Christopher Plummer, Jason Priestly, Keanu Reeves, William Shatner, Donald & Kiefer Sutherland and Jennifer & Meg Tilly.

   
  
THE INEXTRICABILITY OF CANADIANS
What can we do? The sad fact is Canadians have attached themselves to Hollywood like so many cybernetic implants that, if now removed, it would kill us. Meanwhile, the entire Canadian-based film and television industry continues to feed off the host that is mainstream America with their secretly Canadian, apparently All-American films like Porky's, Meatballs, Black Christmas, Christmas Story and Johnny Mnemonic that go to great lengths to hide anything recognizably Canadian. Canadian propaganda like True Lies and Crash remind us of our supposed racism whilst simultaneously stoking it, at the same time skillfully avoiding depictions of Canadians. Although the comically profound ignorance about Los Angeles evident in Crash seemed glaring as the sun, it was accepted as deeply insightful and accurate amongst the unfamiliar, easily-swayed and otherwise clueless. It’s like we're in The Matrix.


SNOWED BY "HOLLYWOOD NORTH"
Interestingly, lest people start wondering why they don’t make any obviously Canadian films, they created their own genre, the Northern. The prospect of watching adventure films about Mounties is so unappealing that, at minimal cost (paid for with the profits of their secretly-Canadian blockbusters), they can with factory-like precision crank out enough films to allay our suspicions, though in reality, like the tax write off films that line our clearance section, they’re not intended for human consumption, either by Americans or Canadians. Have you or anyone you know ever seen or listened to any of these films, television and radio programs?

The Riders of the Plains (1910), Flower of the North (1921), The Flame of the Yukon (1926), The Lodge in the Wilderness (1926), Tiger Rose (1929), O'Malley Rides Alone (1930), Men of the North (1930), The River's End (1931), Riders of the North (1931), Mounted Fury (1931), The Mystery Trooper (1931), Mason of the Mounted (1932), Honor of the Mounted (1932), Mckenna of the Mounted (1932), Clancy of the Mounted (1933), The Trail Beyond (1934), The Fighting Trooper (1934), Courage of the North (1934), Undercover Men (1934), Silent Code (1935), Northern Frontier (1935), Timber Terrors (1935), Wilderness Mail (1935), Fighting Shadows (1935),The Red Blood of Courage (1935), Border Brigands (1935), Code of the Mounted (1935), Trails of the Wild (1935), His Fighting Blood (1935), Skull and Crown (1936), Rose Marie (1936), Caryl of the Mountains (1936), O'Malley of the Mounted (1936), The Country Beyond (1936), Phantom Patrol (1936), Secret Patrol (1936), King of the Royal Mounted (1936), Wildcat Trooper (1936), Renfrew of the Royal Mounted (36-40), Challenge of the Yukon (39-55), Blair of the Mounties, Men in Scarlet, Renfrew of the Royal Mounted (1937), Death Goes North (1938), On the Great White Trail (1938), Heart of the North (1938), On the Great White Trail (1938), The Mysterious Pilot (1938), Fighting Mad (1939), Crashing Thru (1939), North of the Yukon (1939), Blue Montana Skies (1939), Susannah of the Mounties (1939), Outpost of the Mounties (1939), Yukon Flight (1939), Man From Montreal (1939), Murder on the Yukon (1940), Danger Ahead (1940), Sky Bandits (1940), River's End (1940), North West Mounted Police (1940), King of the Royal Mounted (1940), The Royal Mounted Patrol (1941), North of the Rockies (1942), Northwest Rangers (1942), Perils of the Royal Mounted (1942), King of the Mounties (1942), Riders of the Northwest Mounted (1943), Law of the Northwest (1943), Northern Pursuit (1943), Belle of the Yukon (1944), Northwest Trail (1945), The Royal Mounted Rides Again (1945), Neath Canadian Skies (1946), North of the Border (1946), Where the North Begins (1947), Dangers of the Canadian Mounted (1948), Northwest Stampede (1948), Trail of the Mounties (1949), Trail of the Yukon (1949), Wolf Hunters (1949), Mrs Mike (1949), Dog (1950), North of the Great Divide (1950), Call of the Klondike (1950), Gene Autry and the Mounties (1951), Yukon Manhunt (1951), Northwest Territory (1951), The Wild North (1952), Border Saddlemates (1952), Yukon Gold (1952), Pony Soldier (1952), Blue Canadian Rockies (1952), Fangs of the Arctic (1953), Fort Vengeance (1953), Northern Patrol (1953), Canadian Mounties vs Atomic Invaders (1953), Gunfighters of the Northwest (1954), Yukon Vengeance (1954), Rose Marie (1954), Saskatchewan (1954), Perils of the Wilderness (1956), The Canadians (1961), Alien Thunder (1974)

Belle of the Yukonblue canadian rockiescaryl of the mountiescode of the mountedfighting madfighting trooper

honor of the mountedking of the mountedmason of the mountedmrs. mikenorthern frontiernorth of the great divide

northwest trailphantom patrolred blood of couragerenfrew of the royal mountedriders of the plainsriders of the north

rose marieroyal mounted rides againsilent codeskull and crownsky banditssussanah of the mounties

the trail beyondtrail of the mountieswilderness mailyukon flight

I didn’t think so. But, as you can see, some are on DVD. Maybe I'll watch one. I'll have to think aboat it.


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The Great Black North

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 10, 2009 12:56pm | Post a Comment

One fact that’s widely overlooked during Black History Month is that it’s not only Black History Month in the US. Besides having the stated aim of highlighting the contributions to human history made by the entire black diaspora, BHM is simultaneously observed in Canada. People who've never been to Canada may not believe that black people live there. While it's true that the black Canadian population is minute compared to the black American populartion both in terms of numbers and percentage, black Canadians have contributed significantly to Canada's mostly overlooked music scene and their contributions are surely worth honoring (oops! ...honouring). [Special thanks goes to MuchMusic].


Dream Warriors - Wash Your Face in My Sink


Maestro Fresh Wes - Let Your Backbone Slide

Interspersed with exemplars of black Canadian musical contributions, allow me to ponder the controversies surrounding terminology used to discuss black Canadians and hopefully in the process shed a little light on history. No doubt we'll never come to a consensus on what's the most accurate/least offensive/least ridiculous terminology, but just thinking and talking about it is worthwhile far as I'm concerned... or at least fun.


Oscar Peterson - Waltz For Debby

MCJ & Cool G - So Listen

First of all, the black population of Canada as a whole is fairly different from the black population of the US. Whereas nearly all Black Americans are descended directly from Africans brought over in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, 62% of Black Canadians are descended from voluntary immigrants to Canada from the West Indies. Of course, most of them came from Africa, but in the West Indies they created a unique culture fairly distinct from the black American South's. This is undoubtedly part of the reason that most black Canadians reject the term “African Canadian” just as slaves did early on, hoping to separate their identities from Africa and gain recognition as Americans. Of course, the politcally correct designation “African American” is also used to describe black Canadians since most Americans can’t recognize Canadians from themselves, especially accent-deaf political correctionalists.

K-OS - Musical Essence


Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers - Little Miss Sweetness

The term “African Canadian” not only erases the broad cultural distinctions between West Indian-descended black Canadians and Canadians from Africa, eh, it also implies an African homogeneity quite at odds with reality. After all, Africa has the widest variety of indigenous populations on the planet and reserving the prefix “African” for the continent's black residents effectively excludes the non-black, yet just-as-African Arabs, Berbers, Bushmen and Malay from the equation… not to mention the more recent but still substantial (and, I would argue, equally African) European, Chinese and Indian immigrant populations. This fact is made more obvious in Canada, perhaps, than the US. In the US, most African-descended people are black west Africans so the term African-American isn't as obviously flawed. In Canada however, most African immigrants are Moroccan Berbers, Algerian Arabs, and European-descended South Africans... yes, most African-Canadians are whities. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.


The Dears - Lost in the Plot

In order to further recognize their distinct culture within Canada, many West Indian-descended black Canadians use the term "Caribbean Canadian," although it’s also not without controversy because, just like African-Canadian, it implicitly homogenizes the Caribbean, excluding the substantial, just-as-Caribbean, non-Black Chinese, European, Indian, Lebanese, Native and Syrian populations that are integral parts of Caribbean culture and the heritage of many black Canadians.

Kardinal Offishal - Bakardi Slang

As well, in order to avoid saying “black” at all costs, some Canadians have even taken to saying "Afro-Caribbean-Canadian" although that’s just too much a pain in the mitiss for most. Anyway, a smaller but relevant percentage of Canada's black population is descended from those who used the Underground Railroad, which took substantial numbers of former slaves to freedom, mainly in Nova Scotia and Southwest Ontario. So, while there may be no resolution to this question, hopefully you enjoyed thinking about it or at least the Canadian music.


Rascalz - Northern Touch

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MORE NEWS FROM THE WILD ANIMAL KINGDOM

Posted by Whitmore, November 20, 2008 03:50pm | Post a Comment

Debby, the world's oldest polar bear has died. Suffering from multiple organ failure, she was euthanized earlier this week, just a month shy of her 42nd birthday. Some polar bears living in captivity make it into their 30s, but few in the wild reach 20 years of age. Earlier this year the Guinness Book of World Records certified she was the oldest polar bear on record and one of the three oldest bears ever documented from any of the eight bear species.

Born in 1966 at the height of the Cold War in the former Soviet Union’s Arctic Island’s Region, Debby was orphaned at a very young age, but was rescued by the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In her years at the Canadian zoo she gave birth to six cubs with her mate of almost thirty years, Skipper, who died in 1999 at age 34. All of their offspring are still alive today.

As tributes pour in from around the world, a memorial is planned at the zoo this coming Saturday at noon at the zoo's Animal Tracks Café.

 

Terror en Pointe: Maddin's Dracula proves that holiday ballet is not just for Christmas anymore!

Posted by Kells, October 31, 2008 11:43am | Post a Comment

Last year, for a few nights before Halloween, my roommate and I enjoyed a brief, Dracula themed movie marathon. Nested on the saggy couch in our 100 year old Chinatown flat, the two of us watched Dracula after bloody Dracula, eventually lighting on a few nuggets of pure entertainment delight. By the end of our brief waltz through several cinematic portrayals of Transylvania we discovered that we'd yet to hear a satisfactory soundtrack to F.W. Murnau's silent and beautiful Nosferatu (we alternated between two musical interpretations that were ultimately disappointing), that we loved the excellent extras that accompany the recent, two disc reissue of Francis Ford Coppola's heady and deeply symbolic Bram Stoker's Dracula (the mini-doc about the in-camera, naive effects employed in the film making is absolutely amazing), and that we sat awestruck in front of the TV while a brilliant collaboration between Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Canadian cult director Guy Maddin tantalized our eyes with their film Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary (a marriage of said ballet's interpretation of Dracula and Maddin's singular, super-charged visual style). I have seen and loved many dance movies, but this has to be one of my very all time favorites because the dancing is more than just a part of the film, it is the film! Add to this the touch of Maddin's hand and I swoon like Lucy ready to receive her eternal kiss. It's that entrancing.

Part of what makes this movie work so well is the way in which it blends certain aspects of Victorian era appeal (fairy story settings, men with attractive hats, tall ships) and politics (xenophobia, fear of 'the other,' repressed sexuality) relevant to Stoker's demented story while maintaining an early film, silent-era aesthetic. Indeed, Maddin must have realized the best way to film a ballet, particularly this one, would be to treat it as if it were meant to be a silent movie. This totally works in that there could be no better, more expressive actors for a silent film than professional dancers, whose only medium is their physical form. Standout performances by sensuous and stalwart ballerinas like the pale and nimble Tara Birtwhistle (as Lucy Westenra), the suave and sinewy Zhang Wei Quiang (as Dracula), and the gracful and doe-eyed Cindy Marie Small (as Mina Harker) make unconventional movie stars who earn constant praise from Maddin in his entertaining commentary, during which he repeatedly refers to his preference for women with big, expressive hands. It is worth noting also that the story is danced to the melodramatic strains of Gustav Mahler's first and second symphonies -- yet another element of the production that supports the silent film treatment, as the music plays just as important role as the dancers do.

The visual impression this film makes is huge. Rather than film the ballet in a straightforward, this-is-a-ballet-made-for-the-stage manner, Maddin employs the use of deep shadows, blurred vignettes, and tinted colors to overload the film's sumptuousness index. Nods to more than one Dracula film of the past are dashed here and there throughout the production without ever feeling like anything has been lifted outright from any other movie. The reason for this familiar-yet-fresh-feel of the film is, in my opinion, that for all its eccentricities, this film remains largely faithful to Stoker's original story, something that is just not all that common in most Dracula adaptations. Also, shocker, Maddin is doing things his way with this film which is to say that he's doing things that are rarely, if ever, done. For example, the grainy, antiquated look of the film is at least due in part to the fact that it was almost entirely shot in black and white Super 8, many of the scenes captured in a such a manner as only can be achieved by using hand held cameras, which I love. I find this simple, intimate way of filming ballet dancers totally exciting -- it's so close that one almost feels the swish of the air displaced by the dancers' movements. This in-your-face, hand held footage also allows for the capture of miniature tableaux where the dancers are framed almost like a still life within a revolving point of view. Unlike the ballet performed in a theater or opera house which unfolds two dimensionally, Maddin's Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary is so 3D it could almost take you in and it probably will if you succumb easily to hypnosis, or vampires, or ballet. 

Seeing a ballet in person is a glorious thing and I urge anyone who hasn't done it to at least take a date or the kids, or a maybe flask, down to your local production of the Nutcracker (or, if you happen to be in Charleston, South Carolina, the Charleston Ballet Theatre is performing an interactive interpretation of the Rocky Horror Show this Halloween). As a little girl I took ballet classes for a few years and learned enough about the discipline and dedication of the beginning ballerina to ask my mom to get me involved in something else (I then found out the hard way that ballet is way easier, and more agreeable in my case, than karate.). I almost lost all interest in it until I went to see a production of Prokofiev's  Romeo and Juliet when I was about nineteen. Though I went solely for the dark, dramatic music, the production as a whole tore me apart. I remember tears streaming down my face as Romeo danced with the limp, "dead" body of Juliet in their final pas de deux. I realized then that even the most structured of dances cannot suppress physical expression of the soul. It moved me deeply. I know it's corny, but I believe Madonna's right when she says, "you can dance...for inspiration." Don't let anyone tell you you can't. I only wish I had known about the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Dracula when it made a brief stop in San Francisco on its world tour a few years ago. How I would have loved to see it on the stage (even though I can see Maddin's vision of it any time I want to.)!

But what if ballet is truly not your thing? Well, there are enough little oddities in Maddin's mad ballet movie to keep everyone interested: sick people in glass cases, demonic perverts, bugs for dinner, oral sex in a convent, arms that leak gold coins when they're cut, near death by choking on money, a castle made of vaginas, death by impalement... the list goes on and on. And if you think Maddin's commentary would seriously clue in the curious viewer who questions any weirdness, think again, for his commentary is probably the most misleading yet enjoyable of any commentary I've ever bothered to listen to. He may not be as crazy as, say, Paul Verhoeven, but he is a little bit wacky and he clearly loves a good pun off the cuff. In the end a Maddin movie is a Maddin movie and viewers should come to expect the unexpected. I strongly suggest to anyone who fancies a gander at this flick to watch it twice, or at least once with the director's commentary on; it simply rules. One more thing: this film makes for excellent fodder for academic deconstruction, especially if your area of interest and/or expertise is any kind of political science or ethnic studies. I earned myself a big fat A+ thanks to falling in love with this gem of a movie. Oh Canada, how I love you and not just for your maple syrup and aurora borealis and Anne of Green Gables anymore.






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