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This article by Nicole Plett was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on Wednesday, June 3, 1998. All rights reserved.

Film Series

Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin has been singled out for scrutiny at the New Jersey International Film Festival. Included in the festival's summer lineup of 27 films is a four-part Guy Maddin retrospective. Festival curator Albert Nigrin says he's long been an admirer of the director from Manitoba.

"One of the things I love about Maddin's films, they're so beautiful to watch -- like visual candy -- and they're so crazy in terms of the scripts by George Toles. Toles (scriptwriter on all Maddin's films) has a way of using language as a poetic device, even though it's still prose," says Nigrin. "Maddin's work involves insanely crazy reworkings of earlier trends, especially German Expressionist, German Mountain, and Russian Constructivist films of the 1920s and early '30s. They're all brought up to date and given a Canadian point of view. Snow is prominent in these films; there's feeling of hermeticism, but there's also humor."

Most of Maddin's work has already been screened by the New Jersey Filmfest over past seasons. This season it brings them all back together in a four-program retrospective that adds two recent works and one early film not previously screened. The series opens Friday, June 12, with Maddin's fantasy, "Archangel," set in World War I, about a Canadian flyer stranded in an arctic Russian town full of eccentrics and politicos. "Careful," another bizarre Maddin offering about a 19th-century village that hosts an academy for butlers and frequent avalanches, is screened June 20, in Scott Hall.

Maddin's latest film, "Twilight of the Ice Nymphs" (1998), marks a departure for the director by including two "star" actors, Shelley Duvall and Frank Gorshin, in a frenzied and dream-like fantasy about unresolved sexual desire. It's featured June 28 at the State Theater. And Maddin's early "Tales from the Gimli Hospital" (1988), is presented together with a one-hour documentary about Maddin by Noam Gonick, "Guy Maddin: Waiting for Twilight," July 17 in Scott Hall.

New Jersey International Film Festival. Screenings are in Scott Hall, Room 123, on Rutgers' College Avenue campus, and at the State Theater, New Brunswick. All films begin at 7 p.m. Tickets $5; $8 at the State Theater. Call 732-932-8482 or go to website:

Oscar and Lucinda, from Australia, Gillian Armstrong's film featuring Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett as gambling addicts who build a glass palace in the wilds, June 5-6, Scott Hall. Archangel, by Guy Maddin, set in World War I, about a Canadian flyer stranded in an arctic Russian town, June 12, Scott Hall.

Arguing the World, Jewish intellectuals fight over the future of Marxism, with personal appearance by director Joseph Dorman, June 13-14, Scott Hall. Mrs. Dalloway, Marleen Gorris' adaptation of the Virginia Woolf novel with Vanessa Redgrave as the 50-something hostess who reconsiders boring politico hubby, Michael Kitchen, for a shell-shocked WW I vet, Rupert Graves; also Nil By Mouth, Gary Oldman's directorial debut, a film about rage, love, and battery in a London family, June 19, State Theater. Careful, Guy Maddin's bizarre film about a 19th-century village that hosts an academy for butlers and frequent avalanches, June 20, Scott Hall.

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