The Green Fog Screen 8 articles

The Green Fog

2017

The Green Fog Poster
  • At this stage in his career, Maddin has mastered a particular form of filmmaking, and has garnered significant approbation for it. But instead of simply generating more of the same, his newest work finds him taking on new collaborators, trying radically new things, and broadening his formal repertoire. In every way, The Green Fog is the work of a bold, forward-thinking artist, and it's a great pleasure to see Maddin and the Johnsons going out on numerous conceptual limbs here.

  • While the frenzy of much of Maddin’s past work, inspired by his passion for films of the silent era, particularly the German Expressionists, and the ecstatic chaos of Maddin and the Johnsons’ previous collaboration, The Forbidden Room (2015), all go missing, there’s something of a slow motion slapstick sensibility at work.

  • Precisely because the film positions itself so unassumingly—not so much structured by, as around Hitchcock’s masterpiece [Vertigo]—it feels destined to be a career footnote more discussed than actually seen. But there’s something poignant about such an endpoint: that one of the most canonized works in cinema history should be transformed into a doggedly inconspicuous work—a movie shielded from the fires of history, but then plunged into a sea of digital noise.

  • “The Green Fog” is a wonder of excavation and urban history. What it says about Hitchcock is more ambiguous. There is a slight arrogance in presuming that one of the greatest of films all time (“Vertigo” topped the 2012 Sight and Sound magazine poll) could be approximated, even a little, using clips from lesser directors. Then again, if trying to recreate a lost object of obsession from the materials at hand was Hitchcock’s subject, then he couldn’t ask for a more fitting tribute.

  • At times, the playfulness reaches moments of sublime, unlikely beauty. The passages of Vertigo that concern Stewart’s catatonia coincide in The Green Fog with a masterful reverie on Chuck Norris’s face in An Eye for an Eye, remixed here so that the action lug’s impassive mug attains a melancholy grandeur; you want to laugh, but it’s all done so beautifully that you come away moved. That’s the magic of The Green Fog. It envelops you and pulls you into its own world, teaching you to see again.

  • As befits the Maddin imagination, The Green Fog is constructed with an eye for the bizarre and the joyously perverse. Discontinuity is sometimes wildly heightened, in classic Surrealist mode. . . . Somehow, this sequence perfectly distills the revelatory strangeness of the apartment scenes in Un Chien Andalou, but it’s also Kuleshov Effect 101 taken to the craziest, silliest limit.

  • Fun is the order of the day: the movie's affect is puckish and surreally funny, quite different from Hitchcock's bleak romantic tragedy. The two do share a kind of swoozy delirium, but nowhere in Hitchcock do we see a young Michael Douglas in The Streets of San Francisco (1972) admiring his own bare ass from Basic Instinct (1992) projected on a screen.

  • Somehow, not withstanding its fragmented diversity of images, and despite the fact that it features very little dialogue . . . , it remains intelligible and remarkably coherent, even as the narrative lines expand, bend and contort to include sundry digressions. . . . The film, in essence, is a brilliant exercise in meta-narrative, which raises questions galore about reality and representation, time and space, genre and gender, individual and urban identity, cinematic suture and casting, etc.

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