26 June 2008 | ThreeSadTigers
Amazing; one of the most radical and imaginative short films that I've ever seen
Pure fantasia, a race to save the world from a fatal heart attack, juxtaposed against a love rivalry between two brothers - a mortician and an actor playing Christ - for the heart of a scientist studying the earth's core. Whether or not there's any kind of deeper interpretation is hard to tell, with the film racing along in an almost stream-of-consciousness approach, as expressionist cinema conventions are cast against elements of Soviet propaganda films in Maddin's typically exciting and an anachronistic style. Although vague and enigmatic, there is a definite story here; one that is relatively easy to follow if we pay close attention to the incredibly quick cuts and barrage of on-screen information, as references to Metropolis (1927) and Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864) are combined with the director's intuitive sense of visual abstraction, humour and satire, whilst also featuring an almost heartfelt approach to its characters, even in such an exceedingly short-form.
At this point in time, I'm still something of novice to the films of Guy Maddin, though I have seen the vast majority of his short films and would rate them from good to excellent. Like the rest, The Heart of the World (2000) is worth watching more than once in order to pick up all of the information being offered to us in the continual bombardment of overwhelming and fascinating imagery and fragments of captivating narrative, whilst also standing as a simply astounding piece of film-making in the most basic sense. A masterful combination of wit, imagination, style, content and pure cinematic ability, in which the saviour of the world turns out to be none other than cinema itself.