There's a thin line between weird and strange, and Maddin's debut falls just the wrong side. For all that, it's hugely enjoyable, a shaggy-dog story set in Manitoba in a bygone age of bucolic gambolling, innocent erotic idylls, and dark, dark shadows. Lonely Einar succumbs to an epidemic that leaves cracks across its victims' faces, and ends up in the local hospital, where he whiles away the hours carving bark fishes and envying the narrative skills of his voluminous neighbour. The two spin tales of love, loss and necrophilia, and mortal combat ensues, to the sound of ghostly bagpipes. A nearly wordless '20s pastiche, the film obeys no logic except the impulse to fling in as many campy, incongruous images as possible. There are moments of jaw-dropping inspiration, and many that are just impenetrably odd. But this is immensely winning for the rawness alone.
Cast and crew