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Sunday, March 28, 2010

CAREFUL (1992)

An early feature from Winnipegian Guy Maddin, an artsy Canadian auteur who favors purposefully distressed visual & audio elements to heighten the ironic edge of his work. This is one of his better conceits: in an isolated mountain town, all sorts of dysfunctional family crises are played out sotto voce for fear that any loud noises (yelling, gun shots, caterwauling) might set off the incipient avalanches that loom above. The sequences shot on strikingly artificial mountainsides & townscapes make exceptional use of the long lost film techniques Maddin cultivates (tinting, toning & two-strip color; expressionist acting out of UFA-Germany; the lo-fi audio of Early Talkies; and the ‘blasted’ look of worn-out 16mm dupe prints), but the sibling rivalries grow tiresome as his visual palette runs riot then runs out of steam. He seems unable or unwilling to bridge the chasm between clever concept and finished product. But the journey is not without interest.

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