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Film Description
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Film Title:
Brand Upon the Brain!

Director: Guy Maddin
Country: USA/Canada
Year: 2006
Language: Silent with English Narration
Time: 95 minutes
Film Types: BW/HDCAM
Rating: 18A
Brand Upon the Brain!

Friday, September 08    6:00 PM    VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN)  Buy tickets now

Production Company : The Film Company 
Foreign Sales Agent : Jafar Panahi Productions 

Executive Producer: Jody Shapiro, Philip Wohlstetter, AJ Epstein
Producer: Gregg Lachow, Amy E. Jacobson
Screenplay: Guy Maddin, George Toles
Cinematographer: Benjamin Kasulke
Editor: John Gurdebeke
Production Designer: Tania Kupczak
Music: Jason Staczek
Principal Cast: Sullivan Brown, Gretchen Krich, Maya Lawson, Katherine E. Scharhon, Erik Steffen Maahs

For the last five years the Festival has been presenting classic silent films with live musical accompaniment. This year promises to be an exceptional and memorable experience as we present a unique screening of visionary - dare we say mad genius - filmmaker Guy Maddin's new supercharged fever-dream silent film, Brand Upon the Brain! This unique event will feature live music performed by members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, foley artists, a narrator and a singer, conducted by composer Jason Staczek.

With a labyrinthine plot that defies description, the film is equal parts childhood reminiscence, Expressionist horror movie, teen detective serial and Grand Guignol reverie. Brand Upon the Brain! concerns a character named Guy (played by Sullivan Brown as a youngster and Eric Steffen Maahs as an adult). He has accepted his mother's invitation to return to the island of Black Notch and the orphanage where he was raised. He has come to paint the lighthouse and this marks his first trip back to the island in thirty years.

Memories are everywhere on Guy's beloved island. He remembers his pubescent sister (Maya Lawson), his chastity-demanding mother (who watches over the island with her super telescope), his workaholic scientist father and his own under-stimulated youth. Then, celebrity teen detectives Wendy and Chance Hale (both played by Katherine E. Scharhon) arrive on the island to investigate the mysterious head wounds suffered by former charges of Guy's enigmatically malevolent mother and father. With young Guy's assistance, we witness a kaleidoscope of memorable images: a coven in the marsh; his mother's mysterious Romania-shaped birthmark; secret codes and rendezvous; crashing waves; sin-cleansing turpentine baths. On top of this, there is the traumatizing turmoil brought about by the Hales' investigation.

Maddin's furious, dreamy visuals are nearly overwhelming. With his misremembered autobiographical mélange of real and imaginary family drama, he warns that all things will happen again and again, but for those who dare, nothing is impossible.

All hail Guy Maddin, filmmaker and lighthouse painter - and arguably the most vitally dangerous practitioner of cinema working today.

- Stacey Donen

Guy Maddin was born in Winnipeg. He has carved an international reputation for unique films ranging from Tales from the Gimli Hospital (88) to the Cowards Bend the Knee (03) installation. Among his numerous accolades are a Genie Award for best live-action short for The Heart of the World (00), which was produced for the Festival's Preludes in 2000, and Gemini and Emmy Awards for Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary (02). In 1995, Maddin received a Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the Telluride Film Festival, the youngest person ever to have been awarded this honour. Feature works that have appeared at the Festival include Archangel (90), Careful (92), Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (97), The Saddest Music in the World (03) and Brand Upon the Brain! (06).
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