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If you're interested in seeing a movie that tries too hard to be artistic, or that wants so badly to reach a high brow society who has to justify having spent 60 minutes suffering through this so gives it a high rating in order to seem intellectual, then this is the film for you. Not Maddin's best work, and not nearly as artistic as it wants to be.
When you're no longer capable of slaking your thirst with David Lynch, move up to Guy Maddin. His tesseract narratives, richly amazing character portrayals, and oddly on-point cinematography seem like they've been fated for centuries (even when they come from the hip). Years ago, a friend advised that the best way to view Maddin's work was through various lenses of altered consciousness. I disagree. I believe firmly that Maddin's work is itself an alteration of consciousness that allows us to wake up to the rich and baroque beauty that surrounds our everyday reality.
This is kinda what Un Chien Andalou would be like if Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel were Canadians raised on Hockey and Canadian Whiskey. A surreal, semi-auto-biographical (in ways only Guy Maddin knows I'm sure), silent film featuring abortions, amputations, strangulations (including a cop (!)), fisting, boobies, wax sculptures and of course Hockey. This film is difficult to summarize so I won't bother. I can say that Guy Maddin is quickly becoming one of my favourite film makers from Canada or otherwise and everyone owes it to themselves to check out his unique films. Especially if your a fan of Silent Era films, Surrealism, German Expressionism or movies like Eraserhead, Tetsuo or Begotten. Strongly Recommended.
Dass Guy Maddin zu den bedeutendsten Filmemachern unserer Zeit zÃ¤hlt, ist ja ohnehin klar. Unter seinen Meisterwerken ist der als Kunstinstallation entstandene Film COWARDS BEND THE KNEE, OR: THE BLUE HANDS vielleicht der zerrissenste, disparateste, auch: abgrÃ¼ndigste. Alptraumbilder, direkt aus dem Unterbewusstsein gerissen und auf die Leinwand geworfen; "wie halb erinnerte Stummfilme" (Christopher Long). In einem grandiosen Stummfilmkonzert in den Tilsiter Lichtspielen im F'hain gesehen.
Guy Maddin films are definitely made for a niche audience. Black-and-white silent films with modern era flair. This is a vague film with a very convoluted plot. Any lover of surreal cinema would likely enjoy it. It essentially is a warped tale of revenge and irony. Impossible to summarize in a mere snippet, I'll leave it at that. Certainly not the same 'ole same 'ole. :)
The impossible to summarize, dreamlike plot features a hockey player with a wandering eye, abortions, seductive ghosts, hand transplants, matricide, an ice breast, slapstick routines, and wax galoots. Shot as a silent film with disorienting, stuttering editing, "Cowards" is shocking, stylish and often hilarious, playing out like a mix of "Un Chien Andalou," "Mad Love," the Three Stooges, and "NHL on the Fly."
A solid silent film from Guy Maddin, including all the elements you would expect him to include.
I'm not sure to what degree I enjoyed this, but I do know that I'll be watching some more of Guy Maddin's films.
Kinda boring, in all honesty.
Guy Maddin's efforts to revive the Silent Film style have mixed results. This film is compelling and all but it's also so out there bizarre, all with such hard to relate to characters, that, once it's over, it's hard to digest what you just watched. It's amazing how Maddin managed to cram so much madness into a film barely over an hour long and his commentary helps to make sense of it all. Ultimately, however, there is more outright bizarreness than actual story here. Some will appreciate that. Most won't.