cowards bend the knee

I can guarantee you that, if you see this movie, you will have one reaction and one reaction only afterwards.

What the sweet goatfuck did I just watch?

Yea, that’s Cowards Bend the Knee in a nutshell. Originally setup as 10 six-minute chapters in peepholes as a museum piece, this movie follows the story of Guy Maddin, a hockey player for the Winnipeg Maroons, who gets knocked in the head and proceeds to leave his wife during an abortion and to try and get his hands swapped with his new Asian girlfriend’s father’s blue hands instead.

Oh yea, this all takes place in a sperm sample.

And that’s only the first few chapters. This movie, made in 2003, is a silent film made in the style of Sergei Eisenstein: jarring editing, avant-garde, and very frustrating. But, at the same time, very beautiful. You are presented with a series of images that string together to create a story unlike any other. And that’s what you see a Guy Maddin (he also wrote and directed this, then named the lead character after himself because, as far as I’ve heard, it’s semi-autobiographical somehow) film for: the challenge and the symbolism.

For example, the father of the Asian lady has blue hands because he was a coward and couldn’t care for his family. Maddin ends up with blue hands because he couldn’t do the same. The cycle of images is deafening among the silence. The whole movie is a swirl of beauty, a challenge to escape and a challenge to sit through. But if you do end up sitting all the way through it, you will be awarded by the sometimes funny, but always quick and jarring and confusing ways of the movie.

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