Playing with Memories

Essays on Guy Maddin

David Church (Editor)

Playing with Memories is the first collection of scholarly essays on the work of internationally acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin. It offers extensive perspectives on his career to date, from the early experimentation of The Dead Father (1986) to the intensely intimate revelations of My Winnipeg (2007). Featuring new and updated essays from American, Canadian, and Australian scholars, collaborators, and critics, as well as an in-depth interview with Maddin, this collection explores the aesthetics and politics behind Maddin’s work, firmly situating his films within ongoing cultural debates about postmodernism, genre, and national identity.


Playing with Memories is a handy compendium of reflections on “vision” and thematic preoccupations, with some close readings of particular films…”

Literary Review of Canada

“On one hand, because Maddin is such a good interview subject (funny, irreverent, brimming with arcane information), it comes as no surprise to discover that all of the sixteen essays included in this book are highly readable. What’s more, they cover virtually everything essential to the man’s oeuvre (with the curious exception of his repeated borrowings from silent Scandinavian cinema). On the other hand, precisely because he is such a frank, seemingly open interview subject, if there was anything Maddin did feel like hiding from the world, he would be ideally situated to do just that.”

Mark Harris, Canadian Literature, Spring 2011

“David Church has compiled the first-ever collection of scholarly writings on various Maddin films. … Church’s volume offers insights by scholars from the United States, Canada, and Australia, making it an international collection. That so many American film scholars have contributed to the book is indicative of Maddin’s stature in contemporary filmmaking.”

– George Melnyk, University of Calgary, Great Plains Quarterly, Spring 2011

“This is an interesting, quite readable, and valuable collection of essays. The
essays trace the gradual development of Maddin’s work, films marked not only by a set
of recurrent themes and obsessions—sex, death, and violence—but also explorations of
memory, distortion, and unyielding sadness.

– Trevor W. Harrison, University of Lethbridge, American Review of Canadian Studies

About the Author

David Church is a PhD student at Indiana University. He has contributed to Film Quarterly, Offscreen, Senses of Cinema, The Encyclopedia of American Disability History, and several other publications.

Other contributors: William Beard, Dana Cooley, Lee Easton, Kelly Hewson, Donald Masterson, Carl Matheson, Geoff Pevere, David L. Pike, Milan Pribisic, Steven Shaviro, Will Straw, Stephen Snyder, George Toles, Darrell Varga, Saige Walton.

Book Details

  • Playing with Memories: Essays on Guy Maddin
  • David Church (Editor)
  • Published September 2009, 280 pages
  • Paper, ISBN: 9780887557125, 6 × 9, $29.95
  • Topic(s): Film & Media Studies

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