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.


“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

Table of Contents

Foreword by Geoff Pevere / Introduction - My Brother’s Keeper: Fraternal Relations in the Films of Guy Maddin / Guy Maddin: True to Form / Reinhabiting Lost Languages: Guy Maddin’s Careful / Fire and Ice: The Films of Guy Maddin / Maddin and Melodrama / Thoroughly Modern Maddin / Sexuality and Self in the Guy Maddin Vision / The Heart of His World: Emotional Immediacy and Distance in the Films of Guy Maddin / From Archangel to Mandragora in Your Own Backyard: Collaborating with Guy Maddin / Guy Maddin’s Dracula: Virgins, Vampires, and the “Theatre Film” / Demented Enchantments: Maddin’s Dis-eased Heart / Desire in Bondage: Guy Maddin’s Careful / Hit with a Wrecking Ball, Tickled with a Feather: Gesture, Deixis, and the Baroque Cinema of Guy Maddin / “I’m Not an American; I’m a Nymphomaniac”: Perverting the Nation in Guy Maddin’s The Saddest Music in The World / Conversations with Guy Maddin / Filmography