Guy Maddin, whose brilliant work has up to now often involved a teasing but respectful appropriation of devices of 1920's cinema, now moves forward a few decades and creates, through a unique collaboration, an homage to a filmmaker who was one of the most influential of the mid-twentieth century: Roberto Rossellini. His collaborator (or co-conspirator) is Rossellini's daughter Isabella, a remarkable film artist in her own right, who sketches a portrait of her father that is at once intimate and moving, and who also incarnates several key figures in his life: Chaplin, Fellini, Hitchcock, Selznick, and her own mother Ingrid Bergman. The day after the close of the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival will mark the 100th anniversary of Roberto Rossellini's birth, and the following month Isabella Rossellini's new book In the Name of the Father, the Daughter, and the Holy Spirits: Remembering Roberto Rossellini will be released in the U.S. Followed by a screening of a new 35 mm print of one of Roberto Rossellini's greatest films, The Flowers of St. Francis (Francesco, Giullare di Dio; 1950).
Director's Statement Collapse
What a simple pleasure it is to bring Isabella's picture to the Tribeca Film Festival this year, but what a macabre and delicious thrill it was for me in the months leading up to this moment to collaborate with her on this singular filial reminiscence. In the name of research, I got to grill her about her childhood and all the immortals who occupied it at one time or another; in a series of interviews, I keenly mined Isabella for priceless anecdotal gems, and dug even more avidly for the dirt on her rich and strange life - a biography that stretches far back to times which even predate her scandalous birth, into the glorious film histories of two continents. Purely for the sake of my own nosiness, I also made personal and completely irrelevant queries about her most intimate friendships in the fashion and movie industries; I made a phrenological study of her headbone; and during one extended stay, she even let me sleep in her mother Ingrid's deathbed. As a storyteller, she is sometimes an awestruck little girl, sometimes a regal serenity, and sometimes a bawdy beauty with a hair-trigger laugh and a taste for Grand Guignol. She's always frank and practical, vulnerable and perceptive, refreshingly morbid and jaw-droppingly surprising. I felt my only job as director was to get this complicated recipe that is Isabella onto the screen without forgetting any essential ingredient, freeing her to tell you her tribute in her own wonderful way.
About the Director(s)Collapse
Guy Maddin studied economics at the University of Winnipeg. He then worked as a bank teller and house painter before settling upon a career as a filmmaker. Since 1985, Maddin has made five highly personal features, including Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1988), Careful (1992), and Dracula-Pages from a Virgin's Diary (2002), and approximately 20 short films that have won awards at film festivals worldwide. His style has been called "cinéma enchanté" by The Village Voice's Michael Atkinson. His last film, Cowards Bend the Knee, had its U.S. premiere, both on screen and at peephole viewing stations, at TFF 2003.