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Filmmaker Guy Maddin spooks the FOFA Gallery with 'Hauntings I'

Everybody has something that keeps them up at night. You know—that unfinished novel that sits languishing on the desktop, or that one-armed sweater that was to be finished before the winter (of 1998).

Winnipeg’s directorial darling Guy Maddin is not immune to these bedeviling perturbations. Haunted by the ghosts of aborted projects and lost films, Maddin sought to recreate several rumoured masterworks that would have otherwise never gotten to see the light of day. First commissioned by the TIFF Bell Lightbox in 2010, now showing at Concordia’s FOFA Gallery, Hauntings is a series of short art-house films shown on an exceptionally unique configuration of 11 screens. Maddin invokes the spirits of long dead directors F. W. Murnau, Fritz Lang, Josef von Sternberg, Kenji Mizoguchi and Alice Guy in fevered re-imaginings of their abandoned work.


Renowned for being a lover of early film styles—silent film melodrama, first-wave Soviet agitprop, Expressionism's experimental storytelling—Maddin not only creates an homage to film’s forbearers in Hauntings, but punches out a weird and wonderful bucket list of cinematic references for the viewer to explore later. In other words, Maddin’s own specters tend to exit with you when you leave the gallery.

Most notable amongst the looping reels are The Devil-Bear and Sinclair. In the former, German cult star Udo Kier is a lusty ship's captain who seeks to impress his gorilla companion with his romantic exploits (things go south from there.) In the latter, Maddin shines a light on Brian Sinclair, a homeless, disabled man who, in 2008, died while waiting 34 hours in a hospital emergency room. A bit of a modern anomaly in the bunch, Sinclair is haunting for reasons of its own.


Hauntings I
Until June 10, from 11am to 7pm
FOFA Gallery |1515 St-Catherine W. | fofagallery.concordia.ca