Guy Maddin and his diaries


The Nation’s Christine Smallwood interviews Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin "injects a cocktail of nostalgia,
fairy-tale mystery and existential terror into a highly stylized world
that recalls the herky-jerky dreaminess of early twentieth-century

His works include Tales From the Gimli Hospital, Cowards Bend the Knee, The Saddest Music in the World, Brand Upon the Brain! and, most recently, the documentary My Winnipeg.

  You published your journals a few years ago. Why?

I make a few mistakes… They were my diaries with, like, confessions about exactly where I’ve masturbated and things like that. I don’t know. I haven’t read them, so I’m not sure what got edited out.

You haven’t read them?

I never did read them. I just wrote them. I had moved to Toronto for a few months, and I didn’t trust the movers with the stuff that moved, so I was literally carrying them with me the day I arrived, and heading out for a coffee ’cause I couldn’t get into my place yet. And I met an old friend, and he was with someone, a guy named Jason who was a publisher. And he just said, "What have you got there?" I had three of those old Moleskine notebooks under my arm. I said, "Oh, they’re my diaries." And he said, "Jeez, I’d love to read those." I go, "Want to read them?" You know, I don’t care. I had never read them. Someday I want to, when I’m 70.

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[Photo: Guy Maddin, courtesy San Francisco International Film Festival]