Guy Maddin, contemporary cinema’s finest purveyor of the celluloid past, is at it again, this time with The Green Fog, an ingenious, frequently hilarious tribute to Vertigo and the city it’s synonymous with. San Francisco plays itself in the hundreds of clips Maddin and his collaborators Evan and Galen Johnson have pillaged from movies and TV shows shot on location in the Bay Area, and then stitched together into a giddy fantasy version of Hitchcock’s 1958 masterpiece.
Naturally, Maddin’s own feverish obsession with film history insists that this is no literal reconstruction of arguably the greatest film about obsession ever made. At once playful and experimental, it’s a woozy subversion of Hitchcock’s powerful male gaze, a lusty tone poem on homoeroticism and sapphic longing, and a cheeky, self-reflexive meditation on watching. Full of pregnant pauses and arcane juxtapositions, it’s also a hoot, and the perfect vehicle for Maddin’s florid sense of humour, with such delightful perversions as Rock Hudson eyeballing an NSYNC music video and wooden action star Chuck Norris wowing us with a performance for the ages. — Tim Wong