Director. The unique Winnipeg conjuror of faux vintage melodramas from our collective cultural unconscious, Maddin is not gay, but his titles sure are mighty queer, Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1997) being the one that raises the most plucked eyebrows. Maddin’s arch re-creation of primitive imaginary worlds populated by llamas, Shelley Duvall, legless matriarchs, and virginal heroes gives the camp aesthetic a re-invented and perversely self-conscious charge and at the same time projects an intense sincerity that other camp followers don’t get. Camp has long since ceased to be an exclusive queer game preserve, of course, but what about those explicitly homoerotic moments like the intergenerational pedagogical eros in Archangel (1990) (that even the Guide to the Cinema(s) of Canada noticed ) or all that full-frontal shower action in Coward Bend the Knee (2004)? And then there are those luridly apochryphal towel-boy anecdotes of kneeling lockerroom encounters with Soviet hockey players recounted to his gayboy acolyte Noam Gonick in his ultra-fan movie Guy Maddin: Waiting for Twilight (1997). Few other non-queer auteurs have gone beyond “trafficking in queer chic” (to use John Greyson’s phrase) to include so generously and unself-consciously a queer constituency in their world. Scopophilia, paraphilia, pedophilia, cinephilia: there are enough philias pulsating through the Maddin mindscreen to make him honorary lifetime resident of The Romance of Transgression. (1) Rist, Harry Peter, ed. 2001. Guide to the Cinema(s) of Canada. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. 134-5.
Winnipeg , MB
Winnipeg , MB