So we went to meet Guy Maddin as he oversaw rehearsals for his film Brand Upon the Brain. Yes, rehearsals. It’s evidently not enough to make films that are seemingly the antithesis to the storytelling of modern conventional film, he has to add an orchestra and live foley artist and a collection of narrators (a different one for each performance) almost as if to ensure he would fail.
We were excited both to meet Guy Maddin and also to see a grown man have a mental breakdown and run out of the East Village Cinemas into traffic. But instead of drowning in his own nervous sweat and popping pills to keep the reality of the task from tapping him on the shoulder, we found Guy calmly directing that night’s narrator (Crispin Glover) and overseeing details so calmly we started crying. Guy (he’s a close personal friend of mine now) joked, made light of the very real possibility of the whole production completely imploding at any minute, and shared stories with us that he later claimed to have never before told a living soul—like the time when he was ten that he stole a Russian hockey jersey practiced his slap shots in it while otherwise nude. We have not been the same since.