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Never quite seen a documentary like this one. I love the way Maddin uses cinema for what it is, or rather: what it can be. A state between dreams and reality, past and present at the same time.
My Winnipeg is somewhere between documentary and poetry, a wondrous film essay about the Winnipeg that is, that might be, that should be, a center whose gravity prevents escape, a dreamland and a secret history, and through Guy Maddin's supposed (but staged) reenactment experiment, a touching meditation on the ties that bind us to our history, confusing City with Mother, and expressing a complicated relationship with both, in a poetic language that repeats and chugs along, train-like, which is very appropriate for Winnipeg, for Manitoba, for Canada really. And while there are things here that are surely bogus (some more overtly than others), it had me thinking that yeah, every place has its legends, its weird events that sound unbelievable but did happen, its own special character somehow informing its citizens', and though Maddin can only ever do this once, because he only comes from ONE place, the movie makes you crave a similar treatment for YOUR hometown. And that's the universality hidden in My Winnipeg, how it makes you feel about YOUR home (whether you stayed there or escaped), despite being incredibly specific. And perhaps, there's a little bit of Winnipeg in every town. I've been there, once, but it's not the city I recognized so much as myself.
Winnipeg has always forbidden the shanty towns and hobo villages which typically pop up in other cities.
Still on the books here is a law which keeps our homeless out of sight, up on the rooftops of our city, above us, an aboriginal happy land, in the clouds.
Aboriginal happy land
Forgotten happy land
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Currently in 9 official lists, but has been in 12