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Award-winning film 'My Winnipeg' to screen

RELEASED: Nov. 9, 2010

My Winnipeg photoEAU CLAIRE — Guy Maddin's "My Winnipeg" (Canada 2007), a film that Roger Ebert called one of the 10 best films of the first decade of the 21st century, will be presented Nov. 18-21 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. "Seductively funny, as well as deliciously strange and hauntingly beautiful" (The Wall Street Journal), the "docu-fantasia" about the filmmaker's hometown will screen at 6 and 8:30 p.m. in Davies Theatre.

"If you love movies in the very sinews of your imagination, you should experience the work of Guy Maddin," Ebert wrote in his four-star review of the film. "The city fathers of Winnipeg asked Maddin, their famous local filmmaker, to direct a documentary on their city. God knows what they thought of it. Now they can reassure the taxpayers it's one of the best films of the decade."

"My Winnipeg" winds its way through the birthplace of personal mythologies, attempting to understand the nature of memory. Equal parts mystical rumination and personal history, city chronicle and deranged post-Freudian proletarian fantasy, the movie — which is framed as a goodbye letter — blends local myth and childhood trauma. Somehow it all feels seamlessly assembled and perversely logical, a beautifully personal meditation on belief and truth, memory and myth.

"As a filmmaker who has spent his entire 50 years in Winnipeg, I've been enchanted, intoxicated and benighted by the city of my birth," Maddin said. "By winding my way through the very birthplaces of my personal mythologies and by facing down, in a series of singular domestic experiments, the possessive power of my own family, perhaps I can unlock the mysterious forces which occultly bind many a human heart to the past."

The exercise involves Maddin renting his boyhood home to film pivotal scenes from his childhood, and hiring actors to play his family. Dominating everything is his mother, played by film-noir icon Ann Savage — "a force as strong as all the trains in Manitoba, as perennial as winter, as ancient as the bison."

Winner of the Best Canadian Feature award at the Toronto International Film Festival, "My Winnipeg" appeared on top 10 lists from critics at the Austin Chronicle, The Globe and Mail, the Onion A.V. Club, Time, The Village Voice and others.

"Whatever its connection to the actual, transitory city, Mr. Maddin's Winnipeg — 'My Winnipeg' — is as real as any work of art can be," wrote The New York Times.

The 80-minute black-and-white film — with Maddin's distinctive reinvention of half-forgotten film genres and abandoned techniques from the early history of cinema — will be presented by the International Film Society.

Admission is free at the door with a Blugold Card or IFS membership. Community members who wish to attend campus films must purchase an annual IFS membership at the Service Center (715-836-3727) in Davies Center's east lobby. An individual membership costs $4; a family membership costs $10.

More information about the campus film series is available online and at the Activities and Programs office, Davies Center 133.

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JS/DW

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