Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin has created his own cinematic language from the discarded aesthetics of the past. His beguiling The Saddest Music in the World had the watery color, melodramatic story arc and ratcheted editing prevalent in the 1920s; at times, the whole picture jumped and warbled as if the film had become stuck in the projector. These backdated touches helped create an otherworldly ambience, enhancing the dream-like quality of his tale about a Depression-era Canadian beer baroness (whose glass legs are filled with her brewery’s beer) and her contest to find the saddest music in the world. Maddin’s 2006 feature, Brand upon the Brain!, is a further progression in his unique language. A silent film (albeit with sound effects and narration by Isabella Rossellini), Brand upon the Brain! reveals the tale of a young Guy Maddin in a serialized, twelve-chapter story: He and his teenage sister lived quietly on a Canadian island dominated by a lighthouse that doubled as the orphanage run by his overly attentive mother and scientist father. The discovery that all of the orphans have identical head wounds brought the famed, teen sibling detectives known as the Lightbulb Kids to the island in search of an answer to the chilling question, “What, exactly, is Dr. Maddin doing to those orphans down in that basement laboratory?” Weird, funny and darkly beautiful, Maddin’s work sticks with you long after the film is over. The Webster Film Series presents Brand upon the Brain! at 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday (October 26 through 28) at the Moore Auditorium on Webster University’s campus (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487 or Tickets are $5 to $6.
Oct. 26-28, 2007

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