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Twilight of the Ice Nymphs

Director: Guy Maddin

Canada| 1997. Colour. Ultra stereo. 92 mins.


In subterranean Mandragora, the sun never sets and the population of six is involved in obtuse romantic entanglements. Recently released prisoner Peter Glahn (the name is one of scriptwriter George Toles’s many references to Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun’s 1897 novel Pan) returns to the family farm presided over by his spinster sister. When not sleep-hunting, Peter becomes enraptured with both Juliana and pregnant rain-forest sprite Zephyr. With a Romantic score ripped from Bernard Herrmann’s dead hands, this florid fairy tale is one of the few Maddin films to be shot in 35mm and features an all-star cast enunciating in a melange of accents. Shot in a colour palette inspire by the French Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau, this is Maddin’s most decadent work. It recalls another all-studio forest romp, Max Reinhardt’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, though unlike Reinhardt, Maddin shot Twilight in an abandoned Winnipeg iron works.

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