Brand Upon the Brain! (The Criterion Collection)
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DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES: New, restored high-definition digital transfer, Optional narration tracks by Isabella Rossellini, Laurie Anderson, John Ashbery, Crispin Glover, Guy Maddin, Louis Negrin, and Eli Wallach,
The Making of Brand upon the Brain!, a new documentary featuring interviews with the director and crew members, Two new short films directed by Maddin: It's My Mother's Birthday Today and Footsteps, Deleted scene, Trailer. PLUS: A new essay by film critic Dennis Lim
Top Customer Reviews
everything is told in black and white, grainy and misprinted film, wobbly and erratically vignetted images, and a campy imitation of the silent film conventions of motion pantomine and text slides (but with punctuating sound effects, deliriously incoherent music, and a fiendishly arch narration by isabella rossellini thrown in).
i wasn't sure what to expect and now, well ... i'm not sure what to tell you to expect. you won't forget it, you won't always enjoy it (i found it dragged in places), but you will find it not quite like anything you've ever seen before -- unless it was by guy maddin.
I have been a fan of Maddin for a long time and absolutely loved The Saddest Music in the World (2003) but Brand Upon the Brain! is by far the best film I have seen by him (I have yet to see My Winnipeg which also got rave reviews).
Maddin is one of the few directors who still makes silent films. This film is in fact only partly silent. There was a short time when silent films had soundtracks (music and sound effects), and Maddin does the same thing here. He also uses a narrator, but they where sometimes used at the time of the silent films (then live), especially in Japan.
The film is pure surrealism. It is autobiographical in the same way as Kafka was is his books. It has the humor of Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the horror of David Lynch. It is, in a nutshell insane and amazing. Strongly recommended to anyone interested in Avant-Garde cinema.
About the DVD. The Transfer is very good. It offers multi narration track, which is much appreciated. The documentary about the film was really good and informative. The same goes for the essay on Maddin, by film critic Dennis Lim. The two new short films are far from being the best I have seen from Maddin. "It's My Mother's Birthday Today" is some kind of music video and "Footsteps" is in fact just a documentary about the foley artists which worked on the film.
But if you have a DVD controller like mine, you can make a game of pushing the audio button and going through the 8 or so narrator audio tracks and hear different interpretations of the movie. You can also do it via the menu, there is a section to pick narrators, but I would rather change it on the fly.
The extras are wonderful too. Footsteps is a Maddin filmed look at the foley artists, there is a film based on a singer called the Manitoba Meadowlark. I am not sure if it is worth the $35 or so, but if you found a copy used, I would say go for it. I could watch this movie many times. I like how the actors look, the storyline which is a little lesbian and secretive, a little bit of a Victorian zombie fairytale and steampunk fantasy (the aerophone is one of the best steampunk tools ever if you ask me).
Sweet nectar! Romania! Romania Romania!
(You'll have to watch it to get that.)
I wonder why Maddin hasn't done some film with the girls from Rasputina yet. They seem evenly matched, but maybe that exists only in my dreams.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Criterion gave this its standard excellent treatment including a choice of eight narrations(!) none of which are all that interesting except for namedropping. Read morePublished on June 11, 2010 by TelegramSam
I succeeded, barely, in sitting through this film, hoping it might reveal--perhaps at last in some remarkable endtwist--some hint of redeeming substance. Read morePublished on July 1, 2009 by chainlink
Really neat. "Brand Upon The Brain!" is a gothic horror film, rich with psychoanalytical elements, told mostly in the style of an old silent film. Read morePublished on February 18, 2009 by Joseph P. Menta, Jr.
I'm a longtime fan of Guy Maddin - I own every one of his feature films on DVD from "Gimli Hospital" up to "Brand Upon the Brain". Read morePublished on November 12, 2008 by J. W. Kennedy
You won't be sorry. This is easily the most original film of 2007 and the disc is loaded with extras. You'll be screaming "Romania! Romania! Read morePublished on September 18, 2008 by C. Hyatt
Brand Upon the Brain at first looks like a film from the silent era, black and white with scratches and so on. Read morePublished on September 7, 2008 by MarkusG
In the "Special Features" section of `Brand Upon the Brain,' Director/co-writer, Guy Maddin explains that his black and white silent film is "97 Percent True". Read morePublished on August 23, 2008 by Rocky Raccoon
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