“A surreal indoor odyssey following one man’s struggle to reach his wife, KEYHOLE bewilders and captivates. MADDIN is known for creating new worlds governed by their own logic and rules, and the bizarre exists at every turn in KEYHOLE’s maze.” (Toronto IFF programmer, Agata Smoluch Del Sorbo)
“A movie like KEYHOLE plays like a fever dream using the elements of film noir but restlessly rearranging them in an attempt to force sense out of them. You have the elements lined up against a wall, and in some mercurial way, they slip free and attack you from behind.” (Roger Ebert)
“KEYHOLE is a deliciously disturbing dreamscape for audiences who want to follow one of today’s most fascinating film artists on another wild ride.” (Alonso Duralde, The Wrap)
“Starring Jason Patric, Isabella Rossellini and Udo Kier, KEYHOLE is a dreamlike journey into the protagonist’s memory that explores the emotional ties that bind men to past grievances and suffering. A pastiche of 1940s gangster-noir movies, it is loosely based on Homer’s The Odyssey, telling the story of a deadbeat father who works as a gangster, Ulysses Pick, as he returns home after a long absence. The man must traverse the web of corridors to reach the room where his dutiful wife awaits.
The labyrinth of the protagonist’s psyche is paralleled by the maze-like house, filled with ghosts and painful memories. The material plane becomes intertwined with the emotional and spiritual one in an exploration of the psychological impact produced by one's domestic environment. Maddin explains: “Each room in your childhood home would produce feelings; we all live in the present and the past simultaneously.” Whenever revisited, the rooms bring back to life those memories. Time is not understood linearly, but as simultaneous. The past and the present coexist; people who have passed away are in the same room as those still alive. Death is a permeable state, not a definitive one.
In the end, after the whirlwind of memories, looking through the keyhole, peeking into the innermost corners of your mind is like looking down the gun’s barrel and seeing the scars left behind by the past.” (Diana Mereoiu, BIEFF 2012)
Director: GUY MADDIN
Cast: JASON PATRIC, ISABELLA ROSSELLINI, UDO KIER
Screenplay: GEORGE TOLES, GUY MADDIN
Cinematography: BENJAMIN KASULKE
Music: JASON STACZEK
Producer: JEAN DU TOIT, LINDSAY HAMEL, GUY MADDIN, JODY SHAPIRO
Production: CINEMA ATELIER TOVAR
ENTERTAINMENTONE FILMS INTERNATIONAL
“Idiosyncratic, cheeky and uncategorizable, the films of GUY MADDIN are testaments to the singular vision of a great contemporary cinema artist.” (Agata Smoluch Del Sorbo, Toronto IFF programmer)
“Guy Maddin’s body of work is as beautiful as it is confounding and delirious.” (zeitgeistfilms.com)
“The youngest ever recipient of the Telluride Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement award, Canadian director Guy Maddin is a self-made man influenced by his love of silent cinema and Central European literature. His is a surreal cinema of psychosexual situations, striking visuals and bizarre stories. Continuously twisting conventions, he has been compared to David Lynch in his early days, because of his sublime cinematography and atmosphere, and intentionally subversive content. Shelley Duvall, who starred in the director’s 1997 feature, Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, described Maddin as a cross between Jean Cocteau, Luis Buñuel and Orson Welles, all rolled into one childlike man.
In his first piece, The Dead Father, a darkly comic short film from 1986, he uses many of the cinematic devices that will later be recognized as his consistent idiosyncrasies, for example his obsession with black-and-white cinematography. Having a post-modern sensibility, MADDIN’s films have frequently dealt with unrequited love, murder or the working of the human impulse and subconscious. All his movies also have an autobiographical streak, visible from his very first short and then become central in Cowards Bend the Knee, a films which MADDIN says is “hugely autobiographical”. The characters of his movies are usually lone wolves, people who have undergone traumatic events and who suffer from the absence of a paternal figure. In his article on the Canadian director, MADDIN’s Diseased Cinema, Roberto Curti notes that MADDIN’s characters live love like a pathological condition: a feverish perturbation, an upsetting and destructive conflict between senses and reason. Terrorized by the opposite sex, they simply cannot live a normal love relationship. For example, his 1992 feature, Careful: in the village of Tolzbad animals have their vocal chords slit and humans speak in whispers for fear of snow slides; here lives young Johann, who dreams of an Oedipal relationship with his mother, while his fiancée Karla lusts over her father, who in turn is attracted to his other daughter. Unsatisfied desire deflagrates like a disease.“ (Diana Mereoiu, BIEFF 2012)
Selective awards and recognition:
2009: Filmmaker on the Edge Award - Provincetown IFF
2007: Best Canadian Feature Film, Toronto IFF for the documentary My Winnipeg
2003: FIPRESCI Prize, Special Mention – Rotterdam IFF for the feature Cowards Bend the Knee or The Blue Hands
2002: Best Film Prize – Sitges, Catalonian IFF for the feature film Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary
2001: Golden Gate Award – San Francisco IFF for the short film The Heart of The World
- FIPRESCI Prize – Miami IFF for The Heart of The World
2000: Special Mention for Short Film – Brussels IFF of Fantasy Film for THE HEART OF THE WORLD
1995: Lifetime Achievement Award – Telluride IFF
- Best Canadian Short Film, Special Jury Citation – Toronto IFF for the short film Odilon Redon or The Eye Like a Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity
Berlinale 2012 / Toronto 2011 / Karlovy Vary 2012 / Moscow IFF 2012 / Hong Kong IFF 2012 / Buenos Aires IFF 2012 etc.
Guy Maddin on the film: “KEYHOLE is a domestic Odyssey across carpets and floor tiles instead of across the sea. Here, in the old family home, the film can poetically study the emotionally complex importance of the house, everyone’s house, and all the memories that haunt every nook and cranny of our childhood domiciles. The film is as much an autobiography of a house as anything else. Ultimately, by embedding the entire drama in the house to which all my fictional family’s memories are welded, I hope to divine the nature of the love we all have for our homes (…)”