Aug 3, 2008

The Heart of the World

A compelling and hectic narrative delivered flawlessly in 6 minutes. Wait, What? Guy Maddin's ode to German Expressionism is starkly one of the best short films of our time. Maddin honors the sanctity of the classic Soviet propaganda films, German Expressionism, and Russian silent films. Brief title cards explain the very thick plot in words and much symbolism is to be poured over. Thanks to the amazing song Time Forward by Georgi Sviridov, the film is complete with a "rushed" feeling of apocalyptic urgency.

The odyssey portrayed is one basically left up to interpretation. What I garnered from it - Two rivaling brothers with extremely different career paths both share a love for the same woman. A female scientist, she stares into the core of the earth and notices a metal flesh-pod which has a withering heartbeat. Making the conclusion that the world is dying, she herself must announce it.

Chaos explodes. Towns people start conducting orgies and mass alcoholism. The one Brother Osip (Had an acting role as Jesus) becomes a messianic figure to half of the population while the other side factions against him. The two brothers begin a fierce rivalry before the end of the world. In between their feuding comes a Soviet banker who woos the beautifully dead-looking Anna off her feet in a paralyzing trance of greed. Realizing what she's done after giving herself up to him, she kills Capitalism (the banker) and burrows into the center of the earth and becomes the Earth's new heart.

Osip's effort to win her stand-alone love was converting the masses into his followers. A bold attempt, I might add. Humble Nikolai's attempt is creating phallic statues erupting from coffins of the dead. A young mortician - he defaces the dead in his version of love expression. Soon the dead appear to come to life after the sacrilegious effort. The world has really gone to hell. Soon after, cinema reigns king as the word KINO is chanted over and over again, announcing a time in which cinema rules all as the new "heart" is projected on everyone's bodies.

The principle concept of the woman falling for bags of coins and not love strikes a chord with most women in society. The commentary representing the fact that it's "just a phase" is there, but doesn't make me respect "gold diggers" anymore. Eventually, she sacrifices the idea of "love" in general, denouncing the fact that women can change and are born to be corrupted into puppets. She would just rather not hurting either of the men she loves so much.

The styles of film-making Maddin expresses are the best of all eras. He takes a bit from all classics to create a new wave silent propaganda expressionist film; A working bastard fusion attempt at creating art. This film features stunning editing and effects along with an accurate yet gorgeous viewpoint on feminism. The Heart of the World represents a male perspective of the experimental style Maya Deren used. A sure-fire symbolic classic.


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