Cowards Bend the Knee | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Cowards Bend the Knee 

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The title of this 64-minute video by Guy Maddin (Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary) refers to its having been commissioned as a gallery installation for the Rotterdam film festival, to be watched through a succession of arcade-style peep-show machines. Screening here as a self-contained work, it seems like Maddin's most personal project yet: the hero is a hockey player named Guy Maddin; his mother, like Maddin's, runs a beauty salon; and Maddin even casts some of his own family members. But the overall feel is phantasmagoric--pitched, like most of Maddin's work, in the style of a half-remembered late silent feature or early talkie. Also on the program are Maddin's justly celebrated six-minute short The Heart of the World (2000), showing in 35-millimeter, and his five-minute Odilon Redon, or the Eye Like a Strange Balloon Mounts Towards Infinity (1995). Gene Siskel Film Center.

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