Brand Upon The Brain

Posted on

There's nothing like an unconventional movie-going experience to remind you how boring typical entertainment can be. Case in point: Guy Maddin's Brand Upon The Brain; 93 minutes of stunning, black and white neurosis.

Maddin's lastest film (and I do mean film because "movie" seems a bit too fluffy a word) had its triumphant Winnipeg performance tonight at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra's New Music Festival. I walked into the Concert Hall reminding myself that I've never felt smart enough to connect with Maddin's critically-heralded previous work. I remembered how lost I felt in The Saddest Music in the World because the visuals weren't crisp and clear enough for my dummed-down mind. I thought, hunh, nice gimmick: live narration (by the iconic Isabella Rossillini) for a nostalgic silent film, live score by members of the WSO, and live sound follies.

What I got was an experience. Something unique. Something engaging. Something that didn't need buttered popcorn to make it worth sitting through. Jason Staczek's score was enthralling. The foley artists were fascinating. Rossillini was perfection, even from my seat in the very back row of the hall. It doesn't do any justice to the performance, but check out the trailer for a little hint.

There's something incredible about the live experience. It's easy to forget when you're listening to your iPod or watching some pixelated YouTube movie on your computer screen. But there's always that concert that reminds you. There's that moment when the lights are low and music swells out. You know that it's triggering something different in everyone around you and everyone's just... experiencing.

I sound like a bumpersticker. And let's be honest, my attention span is so short that the minute I walk into a multiplex on Thursday to catch some blockbuster, I'll buy some popcorn and just sit down. My experience will be smaller and less interesting. So I think afterwards, I'm going to head somewhere and catch a band to remind myself what the live thing is all about.

Read more news