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Guy Maddin's DraculaFilm of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet


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#1 BW

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Posted 18 May 2003 - 03:11 PM

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet's production "Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary" by the Canadian director Guy Maddin is reviewed in this article fromThe New York Times.

Has anyone seen it? If so what did you think?

I've no experience with any of Maddin's films though I've read about them.

I understand the filming of the ballet dancers is not always exactly what one might hope for in the sense of seeing them at their ballet dancing best...but I'm interested in hearing people's reviews.

#2 BW

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 05:42 PM

I guess I'm the only the only one interested in this... Tonight I listened to NPR's Terri Gross interview Guy Maddin on her program "Fresh Air" and I found it quite interesting..

Here's a link Fresh Air for you.

#3 dirac

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 02:58 PM

BW, you are not alone. Last weekend I had to fulfill my obligations to Keanu, but I fully intend to see this soon if it's playing locally, and I promise to report. It's going to be on the strange side, but very interesting, I'm certain.

#4 BW

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 04:09 PM

Oh, dirac, thank you - I feel so much better now! Really... after hearing that interview last night, I'm even more interested in seeing this film. Right now it's in NYC at The Film Forum... I doubt it will make it out to the hinterlands of Westchester County, NY... though there is an art film place up in Pleasantville. Maybe they'll show a Guy Maddin film?

I'd better aim for The Film Forum, ASAP!

#5 carbro

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 07:48 PM

I lost some motivation to see it after I heard Maddin on Fresh Air fess up to his lack of familiarity with concepts of seeing dance as dance. :eek: I'm still a little intrigured, but finding a time to see it isn't a big priority. :D

#6 BW

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Posted 23 May 2003 - 07:30 AM

Yes, I heard him admit to that too, carbo... And he admitted to filming the dancers from odd, oft times, unusual angles - nevertheless, for those of us who are old time Dracula fans, it still holds its allure. ;)

I found the concept of ballet being related to silent film and the use of black and white photography...with hand painted splashes of red for, well, you know...and green and gold for money to be rather intriquing, myself.

And then there is the thought that this film just might entice the uninitiated into attending a real, live, ballet performance or two. :D

#7 dirac

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Posted 23 May 2003 - 08:50 AM

I don't think the movie is intended primarily as a record of the performance, so I'm not expecting Dance in America, but Maddin has an intriguing track record and it should be worth a look.

#8 BW

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Posted 23 May 2003 - 12:45 PM

Although I have not seen his other films, yet, I have heard of them. If you haven't checked out the Zeitgeist Film site, you might enjoy checking out the "photo gallery" from Maddin's "Dracula" film. Kind of brings back memories of Peter Lorre lurking about... ;) Actually, there are one or two good dance shots.

#9 Ed Waffle

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Posted 23 May 2003 - 06:37 PM

This movie snuck into Motown for one day, at the Detroit Film Theater, an auditorium that is literally an "art house"--it is in the basement of the Detroit Institue of Arts. Which means it might plays for a week at one of the theaters that show independent movies sometime this year.

The local reviewer wrote that the real stars are not the dancers, but the constantly moving cameras.

#10 dirac

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 09:45 AM

I'm upset. I had been planning to go last weekend -- it was playing in San Francisco -- and couldn't get up there. Now it's been bumped for the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Bummed out.

#11 BW

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 03:58 AM

I missed it too. Guess I'll have to wait til it becomes a cult classic and is put on DVD.

#12 dirac

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 04:01 PM

I finally caught it and then never got around to posting, so Im finally reporting to say that although this movie will be a very strange experience to those unfamiliar with the Guy Maddin M.O., its definitely worth your time. It wont take you long the movie is not much more than an hour. Although Maddin uses sound, he employs various techniques (old film stock, iris shots, double/triple exposure, animation, tinting, melodramatic titles, etc.) -- buffs may feel at times that Maddin is channeling Murnau) to emulate the visual texture of silent films. This is in black-and-white, with occasional use of red for blood, natch and green. As mentioned above, this is not your straightforward film-of-a- ballet. You do see some good dancing, but if you are interested in the movie primarily for that you may be dissatisfied as its difficult to get much sense of the choreography (although the dancing is highly effective within the movies own terms). However, this looks like a good, serious Dracula.


In this telling, and Im simplifying hugely, Van Helsing and Lucys suitors are the true villains, willing to kill Lucy (Tara Birtwhistle, terrific) and Mina (Cindy Marie Small) in order to save them. Dracula (Zhang Wei-Qiang) is a surprisingly youthful, sympathetic vampire. The first half of the movie, ending with the demise of Lucy, is the best dance and drama fall off after that, until the finale. If Maddin and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet are anything to go by, Winnipeg is in fine shape, culturally speaking.

Actually, BW, Maddin's entire oeuvre is a cult classic. :) However, name actors are now appearing in his movies, so I have hopes that one day he will exercise a broader appeal.


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