I've anxiously been waiting for a chance to see Guy Maddin's new film, "My Winnipeg" because:
a) I am, more or less, a Winnipeger (and I as I found out, that means I will always be a Winnipeger).
b) I was pretty sure that the piece would be a brilliant instantiation of Ulmer's "mystory" genre, even though Maddin, I am sure, has never heard of Ulmer. It fulfilled my expectations on this count, more or less.
The film glides effortlessly through Ulmer's popcycle:
1. Community family -- the community history dominates the film,
2. followed closely by Maddin's mother as a dominating figure (Family)
3. Entertainment -- hockey, surprise surprise, plays a central role, but so does a fictionalized television show ("Ledgeman") and other entertainment institutions.
4. Discipline--the whole premise of the film is that Maddin, the filmmaker, is trying to figure out why he cannot leave Winnipeg, so he re-enacts and films key moments from his life circa 1963. Key line: he says, "Maybe I can film my way out."
My "disappointment" is that Maddin isn't able to film his way out, or, if he is, the solution is "Citizen Girl" who is able to solve all of Winnipeg's problems, rid the city of its ghosts, which brings Maddin the narrator to a realization: what's a city without its ghosts? Maybe that is a good enough insight; I guess I was hoping for a bit more. Endings are so very, very difficult, especially for us indecisive Canadians. I suppose he is saying / using Winnipeg is / as a Chora, not a Topoi, just as Michael Moore seems to use Flint Michigan as chora.
Other high points: really, really rich pyscho-sexual imagery, as with all of Maddin's films. The key image: Winnipeg's "Forks" --where the Red River and Assiniboine River meet, which, in fact, is much more like a Y than a fork. The question driving the film: Y Winnipeg?