Guy Maddin and Isabella Rossellini


A cinephile would have to delve deep into the industry vaults of spooled monochrome to find a more beautiful ongoing collaboration than that developed by director Guy Maddin and actress Isabella Rossellini. The best comparisons would, no doubt, include the sensual ennui of Monica Vitti reified through the lens of Antonioni or the baroque stare of Liv Ullmann captured in the snow-globe world of Bergman. Few images are more excitingor iconographic than the female form, frenzied or subdued. While this cinematic tradition has been explored in Roland Barthes’s ode to the face of Garbo—which he compares to “mystical feelings of perdition”—it is Jean-Luc Godard’s glib observation that is the most quotable: “The history of cinema is boys photographing girls.” In contrast to the patriarchal tradition that enjoined the elder, virile artist with his female ingénues, the Maddin/Rossellini relationship is a thoroughly postcoital affair. From their first collaboration in The Saddest Music in the World (2003) to their most recent loop Send Me to the ’Lectric Chair (2009), they have consistently traded gendered representations of masculine power for a bunco scam of sexual aporias. As a director and an actress whose bond might very well be called “epicene,” resistant to the psychology of the domineering male artiste but also shedding the habiliments of dowager feminism, their creative romance resides in androgyny.

more from the chat at Bomb Magazine here.