My Winnipeg is exactly what its creator says it is: one man’s personal tour of the Manitoban city he has called home all his life. But since the tour guide is the marvelous cinema surrealist and Canadian art-house treasure Guy Maddin (The Saddest Music in the World), both the definition of ”my” and the definition of ”Winnipeg” become profoundly fluid in this exquisite ”docu-fantasia” (Maddin’s term), an entrancing riffle through the olde curiosity shoppe of the filmmaker’s psyche.
Really, the prismatic 80-minute film — mostly in classic Maddin black and white, with a classic Maddin mélenge of silent-film tropes and loving re-creations of decayed found footage — is a visual translation of a voluptuously nostalgic state of Maddinesque Winnipeg-itude. Using selections of personal and civic fact as his foundation, the director also narrates his own edge-of-hilarious declarations in the guise of ”Guy Maddin” (played by Darcy Fehr), a drowsing man on a rattling train attempting to leave home. Meanwhile, the actual Guy Maddin dips into a rich trove of Freudian memory associations.
The result teeters, in perfect form, between deep and delirious with overtones of camp, especially with the participation of 1940s B-movie star Ann Savage in the role of Maddin’s mother. In 1945, Savage played a memorable femme fatale in Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour. Here, in her late 80s, she’s an unforgettable Manitoba mom fatale. A