Tim Purtell
October 11, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Cowards Bend the Knee

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
runtime
60 minutes
Wide Release Date
08/11/05
performer
Darcy Fehr, Melissa Dionisio
director
Guy Maddin
distributor
Zeitgeist Films
author
Guy Maddin
genre
Foreign Language

We gave it an A-

The plot of Cowards Bend the Knee in brief: A hockey player ditches his girlfriend (who then expires but comes back later as a ghost) for a seductress who gets a doctor to replace his hands (but he only pretends to) with her dead father’s so she can avenge her pa who was murdered by her ma and her ma’s lover. Loopy stuff put across by defiantly skuzzy, expressionist black-and-white Super 8, whiplash editing, and pulpy intertitles like ”Beauty salon by day…Bordello by night.” EXTRAS In a quip-laced commentary (”No one drops dead like a ballet dancer”), director-writer-cinematographer Guy Maddin claims this jampacked melodrama is ”hugely autobiographical” — minus the amputated hands bit, which came to him in a dream? — ith nods to Euripides, Turgenev, Fritz Lang, and Lon Chaney. The disc also includes a peek at his next opus, The Brand Upon the Brain!, which looks similarly strange and

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