Friday, November 14, 2008

Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg

I just watched Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg, a captivating and very amusing documentary that reminded me so much of my own Winnipeg. It's a great black and white movie memorial that combines stock historic footage with home movies and present day reenactments. Naked super vixens, vintage hockey players, dead horseheads and buffalos compete with sleep walkers and endless snow scapes, fur coats and hudson bay blankets. The mystic nature of the forks and the magnetism of the place itself are juxtaposed with the intellectual ennui of escapist fantasies. And all of it revolves around the family reminding me of childhood and countless Christmas homecomings.

Vincent Massey High School reunion is coming this 2009 spring and Guys' nostalgic reminiscence has pushed me one step closer to returning again despite the old home being sold, Mom death and Dad living now near Ron in Ottawa.

Even now my memory conjures up a kaleidoscope of fond reminiscenses. There's the red brick house, Dad's garage and Mom's garden. Then the parks and the surrounding wheat fields. Fort Gary, Portage and Main, the YMCA, Manitoba Theatre School, MTC, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet. I'll never forget walking to University of Winnipeg, the snow flakes falling and the beautiful young faces. Neil Young's song's words 'all my changes were there' comes to mind as I remember church coffeehouses, hospitals and OR's. I loved my own first house in Riverheights. The memory of my friends taillored word work creations, dinner parties, dances. It's all a gift of a city where people are as warm as the outside is cold.

Even here Winnipeggers greet each other as ex patriots might in a foreign land. And I for one look forward to passing on the news of this tribute to an extraordinary city in the heart of the heart of the heart of the continent.

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