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Careful

3.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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(Mar 24, 2009)
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DVD
(Oct 17, 2000)
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$6.10
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Watching Guy Maddin's Careful is like stepping into a mutating time warp of cinema history, where German alpine dramas of the 1920s are gene-spliced with Daliesque surrealism, Murnau's silent melodrama, and--in an uncannily precise act of stylistic homage--the hypnotically skewed universe of German Expressionism. Filmed in gloriously filtered colors that cross Maxfield Parrish with Peter Max, this stylistic hybrid virtually defies description and must be seen to be truly appreciated. Suffice it to say, the fictional mountain village of Tolzbad--where silence is golden, and extreme measures are taken to avoid a sound-induced avalanche--is one of the strangest and most outrageously amusing locations in the history of film. You think that's an exaggeration? If anything, it's an understatement.

The villagers of Tolzbad have developed repression into an art form: nearly every sentence begins with "Don't," and they slavishly follow a litany of safety guidelines. Desires are equally suppressed, and this precarious equilibrium is fractured when a young villager's Oedipal dreams collide with his dysfunctional family reality. Pandora's box is opened, Tolzbad-style, and Careful turns into a fever-dream of sibling rivalry, forbidden romance, suicide, murder, and delirious cinematic ecstasy. This is Maddin's best and most coherent film, but even so it's hardly for everyone; only the truly adventurous film lover will eagerly follow Maddin on this demented journey, but the rewards are plentiful for those who dare. Many films strive for enduring uniqueness, but few can make that claim as triumphantly as Careful. This is filmmaking on another plane of consciousness--quite simply, a work of art like nothing you've ever seen. --Jeff Shannon


Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kyle McCulloch, Gosia Dobrowolska, Sarah Neville, Brent Neale, Paul Cox
  • Directors: Guy Maddin
  • Writers: Guy Maddin, George Toles
  • Producers: Andre Bennett, Greg Klymkiw, Tracy Traeger
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 17, 2000
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004Z4TE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,205 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Careful" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
If you love early George Arliss films (EARLY George Arliss films), you'll love Guy Maddin's works. He revels in chemical fades, Vitaphone surface noise and the limits of Orthochrome - even though his films are in a sort-of hand-tinted-postcard-color. His is a dry wit-like nitrate stock turning to powder...
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Format: DVD
Easily one of the most distinctive and remarkable talents of the past two decades is the criminally little known Guy Maddin, a man obsessed with silent movies, early talkies, black and white images, twisted early memories and much more. He's made a string of utterly original films, ranging from operatic shorts that use Russian silent cinema as a touchstone to pseudo-documentaries about his own childhood. You simply can't go wrong with this guy if you're any sort of film buff. The Guy Maddin Collection ($34.99; Zeitgeist) contains two films -- Twilight of the Ice Nymphs and Archangel -- and that brilliant short, The Heart Of The World.) His most recent film My Winnipeg (2008) reenacts supposed scenes from his childhood like a fever dream. Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary ($29.99; Zeitgeist) takes the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's production of the classic horror novel down the rabbit hole. I haven't mentioned several gems but perhaps the best introduction is Careful ($29.99; Zeitgeist) a "remastered and repressed" new edition of this movie about a village in the mountains in the 1800s. Everyone -- men, women, children and even creatures -- have to be utterly quiet for fear of starting an avalanche. With this absurd premise, Maddin revels in silent film techniques, beautiful tinting and sexual frenzy barely tamped down by society. It's devilishly clever and absorbing and comes with loads of extras like a new commentary by Maddin, a 1997 documentary about his career narrated by Tom Waits, a short film and more. Essential viewing.
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Format: DVD
When I first saw this film at a special screening at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the host described Guy Maddin as "Winnipeg's answer to David Lynch... that is, if David Lynch were as good as Guy Maddin." The praise might be just: there are lovely dreamlike effects in Maddin's film (especially this, one of his best) which are like nothing David Lynch ever achieved.
CAREFUL is a tribute to the great bergenfilms of the Weimar Republic, and is filmed with the same kinds of filmic effects and film stock as those lovely little hallucinations of the silent era. The film is largely about the joys of repression, and what disasters can be brought about without it. If you think I'm being facetious, you're wrong: in Maddin's deliriously offkilter Expressionist universe, every act of curiosity is sure to kill a cat, and everyone else besides.(the film's prologue, which explains all this, is one of the funniest things I've ever seen: "Careful, don't touch that pot!") Maddin's muse, the very gifted Kyle McCulloch, is on-hand as usual. This film can't be explained, but it also shouldn't be missed.
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Format: DVD
Will wonders never cease? Here is a DVD that I never thought I'd see. Guy Maddin's brilliant and hilarious (particularly for early film buffs) `Careful.' The plot and style of this film have been well explained by other commentaries on this page and elsewhere, so there's no need to go over it again. My favorite comment about it is that it is like a Ricola ad gone horribly, horribly wrong. Suffice it to say that the DVD is an improvement in image quality. While many of the images are intentionally vague, grainy or indistinct by the choice of the filmmakers, I get the impression that these effects are more clearly conveyed in the DVD. In a spoken commentary track with Maddin and screenwriter George Toles (new to this DVD, and obviously not possible on the VHS edition), Maddin admits that he wanted to add an effect through use of the color controls during the digital transfer, but resisted that temptation in order to let this DVD stand as a faithful representation of the film. While the effect he had in mind might have been interesting, I'm still grateful to him for his restraint.
Maddin claims in his commentary that people often obliquely criticize the performances of the actors in this film while, at the same time, telling him how much they like it, placing him in the position of defending those performances. Maddin states that he absolutely stands by the performances in this film, and that the actors gave him precisely what he asked for. This should dispel any doubts among people who see this film about the unusual, stiff delivery of lines, which might lead people who know nothing about the cast to suspect they are amateurs, which they are definitely not. This sort of line reading can be seen in some of the very earliest talkies.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'll never forget the first time I saw a Guy Maddin film--it was "Tales from Gimli Hospital." When it ended I sat quietly for a few moments and just muttered "Holy Cow" over and over. "Gimli" is an early and very low budget effort. "Careful" shows Guy nearing a peak that hopefully will go on for a few more decades.
Guy somehow (and miraculously) manages to sum up the entire history of cinema in his work. While there's much chatter about his obvious retro style, few have noticed his nods to Godard and more recent filmmakers. He may seem to mimic early films with missing frames and soundtrack problems but these "affectations" are ultimately as expressive as the equivalent jump cuts and soundtrack dropouts in Godard's "Alphaville." They're richer too because of the inevitable multiple associations. His amazing short, "Heart of the World" (one of the best shorts I've ever seen) owes as much to modern MTV editing styles as it does to early Soviet cinema (and creates a bridge and dialogue between two seemingly unrelated creative eras). Guy's not an artsy filmmaker, he's just a "guy" who loves movies passionately and works, unselfconsciously, with film's full lexicon.

"Careful" is a beautiful (often breathtakingly gorgeous), complex, unique, and very funny film. He's made a disturbing comedy about tragic and sensitive issues or maybe a tragedy about comic issues--there's something almost Shakespearean about his output. He also has a knack for getting memorable performances from his actors.

No this film isn't for everyone--right now at least--but I'm convinced we are currently witnessing the appearance of one of film's truly great creative geniuses.
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