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Festival Opening With Guy Maddin's Careful

Thu 6 October 2011 // 20:05

(Thursday 6th Oct / opening drinks 7pm, film starts 8pm / £5/4)
(Guy Maddin / 1992 / Canada / 100 minutes / No certificate)

'Careful' is set in the sleepy village of Tolzbad, where its citizens live in constant fear of setting off an avalanche if they talk too loudly or behave in a reckless fashion. The opening montage narrated by the grim though wise Herr Trota (played by Victor Cowie), perfectly sets up the film’s precariously balanced narrative dominoes. As we watch characters performing everyday acts such as removing a teapot from the stove, chopping down a tree, sneezing, falling off a cliff, Herr Trota intones a litany of warnings: "Don’t spill it. "Children, heed the warnings of your parents. "Peril awaits the incautious wayfarer."

Careful is high melodrama and dead-pan camp, a delightful concoction of fairy tale, inscrutable opera synopses, kitsch trappings, B-movie effects, and Freudian field day - hysteria, dreams as wish fulfilment, Oedipal instincts and repression.

Co-written by Maddin and collaborator George Toles, Careful is simultaneously a spoof of and earnest tribute to a variety of sub-genres of 1920s silent film, chiefly the mountain picture (man against mountain/nature films) and the butler film. Maddin uses the style and techniques of early cinema and with its stark, expressionistic silhouettes and colour schemes, its artificial sets and anachronistic use of inter-titles and irises, Careful seems to have somehow transported Dr. Caligari's Cabinet to the Land of Oz.

A real treat for our festival and a must-see on the big screen!