Guy Maddin is a Canadian filmmaker whose style is best compared with that of David Lynch. But that description may be belittling to him; he is as original a director with his own unique cannon of exotic cinema. But he is far less known than Lynch as he has been largely delegated to the niche and festival markets. Granted, his films require a certain taste for the alternative, especially as his style is heavily influenced by silent and early sound cinema.
His films are very low budget, usually shot inside large sheds in Winnipeg, where he also often sets his tales. Though his characters are generally pantomimic figures dealing with sexual obsessions or unrequited love they usually wander through fantasyscapes constructed from period settings. The visuals are sometimes stark, sometimes rich, but a dark fairy-tale is woven through all his images and his themes. The blackest humour is just hidden below the surface, but Maddin likes also to gaze towards the divine.
I get a buzz from some of his films, in particular Careful (where everyone must be quiet due to living under a mountain prone to avalanches) and Archangel (a town suffering from amnesia so they keep fighting in a war that's over) but I've found certain of his features were a touch too long. I felt they would be better served as short films. I guess it's not surprising then that his filmmaking strengths do seem to revel in the short narrative.
Heart of the World is a short film Guy Maddin wrote and directed for the 2000 Toronto Film Festival. It was a commission to celebrate the millennium and the artistic cinema of Canada. I think it is the best example of Guy Maddin as film craftsman and shows that an epic can be six hours or, in this case, six minutes. Playing on the style of early Russian cinema its breakneck pace rattles along making the absurdity of the tale all the more infectious. If you enjoy Heart of the World (which is on the same dvd as Archangel and Twilight of the Nymphs) then be tempted to check him out.