Indie Film Series kicks off with Guy Maddin

Renowned Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin will be the featured guest tonight as part of The Independents, a monthly series of screenings and discussions on independent Canadian cinema presented by York University’s Department of Film & Video, Faculty of Fine Arts.

Right: Guy Maddin

Maddin will screen and discuss his critically-acclaimed film Cowards Bend The Knee (2003-2004) along with a selection of shorts including Sissy Boy Slap Party (2004). Silent cinema scholar and University of Toronto Professor Charlie Keil will host the presentation and moderate discussion. The event will take place at the Nat Taylor Cinema, in N102, Ross Building, at 7pm. Admission is free.

Cowards Bend The Knee is a semi-fictionalized autobiography which plays with the traditions of silent cinema and the perversion of voyeurism and narcissism. Ice hockey, incest, abortion and revenge are just some of the elements that make their way into this delirious confessional.

The work was originally presented as a gallery installation at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in January 2003, and then two months later at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto. Viewers watched the film through 10 peepholes lining a wall, each one revealing a different six-minute chapter of the film.

Mark Peranson of the Rotterdam Film Festival said Cowards Bend The Knee is “jam-packed with enough kinetically photographed action to seem like a never-ending cliff-hanger. A major work of art by Canada’s most self-deluded cinephile,” while J. Hoberman of The Village Voice applauded it as “Maddin’s masterpiece.”

Since the premiere of his first feature, Tales From the Gimli Hospital (1988), Maddin has been astounding audiences with his works. His other film credits include: Archangel (1992), Careful (1993), Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1995), Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary (2002) and The Saddest Music In The World (2003).

The Independents is presented in association with the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, York University. For more information about the screening, call ext. 22174. To find out more about the film, visit the Cowards Bend The Knee Web site.