Screened as part of NZIFF 2007

Brand Upon the Brain! 2006

Directed by Guy Maddin

In his latest fever-dream, Guy Maddin tunnels deep into the slag heap of 20s and 30s cinema he has made his home. Satanic orphans, a masked lesbian wedding and turpentine baths stand in for plot.

Canada In English
95 minutes 35mm / B&W



Guy Maddin
George Toles


Benjamin Kasulke


John Gurdebeke


Jason Staczek


Erik Steffen Maahs
Gretchen Krich
Sullivan Brown
Maya Lawson


Toronto, New York 2006; Berlin, San Francisco 2007


In his latest fever-dream, Guy Maddin tunnels deeper than ever before into the slagheap of 20s and 30s cinema he has made his home. He delights in piling invention upon invention, and the film’s visuals are as splendidly overloaded as its narrative. The plot is more convoluted than a Feuillade serial, racing breathlessly between such non sequiturs as a celebrity kid detective and her brother (actually the same character in drag), the Gloves of Chastity, satanic orphans, a lighthouse-as-surveillance-instrument, a masked lesbian wedding, turpentine baths and – lest we forget – secrets, secrets, secrets! The film feels like Maddin’s hyper-compressed six minute classic The Heart of the World extended (rather than expanded) to feature length, and it can be overwhelmingly dense, with flash-cut visual storytelling, intertitles and Isabella Rossellini’s arch voice-over narration simultaneously bombarding us with parallel, but not identical, information. The film may best be viewed high on caffeine – or stronger stimulants.