I took in a double feature at Brattle Theater featuring two of the “best of 2008” films according to the Brattle. I noticed immediately that both films featured characters walking along streets piled high with frozen crusty snow much like Boston right now. Both films deal concretely with feelings of ennui, of being stuck at home, of feeling trapped. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not that good at escapism.
Momma’s Man (2008)
A man on a business trip to New York stops by to visit his parents and finds himself unwilling, sometimes physically unable to leave. Mikey makes up numerous excuses to stay while reconnecting to his teenage past through his notebooks, guitar, comics, and even connecting with an old girlfriend. I find myself feeling for him in that I could totally flake out and revert to a younger self, but at the same time hating the character because he has a wife and newborn baby in California who he eventually doesn’t even bother to call anymore. To add to the clausterphobic feel of this film is the fact that Mike’s parents Ken and Flo live in an unfinished loft in which spaces are defined by stacks of clutter that add artistic angles to the filming. Very eerie and slow-going, but surprisingly emotionally moving.
My Winnipeg (2008)
Guy Maddin is perhaps one of the most imaginative directors working today, creating films like Brand Upon the Brain! and The Saddest Music in the World. He’s also barking mad as is evident in the insanity of My Winnipeg a fantastical documentary of Maddin’s hometown, as well as a reenactment of the Maddin’s childhood (or at least the film version of Maddin). In Maddin’s world, Winnipeg is inhabited by sleepwalking ghosts and is built upon The Forks of the rivers as well as a mystical duplicate set of subterranean rivers. The framing device is a train out of town that doesn’t seem able to leave, and despite Maddin’s protestations, he doesn’t want to leave. Oh, for all the ennui, this movie is hillarious. This would be a good double feature of craziness in Western Canadian cities with Calgary’s Waydowntown.