This stirring, anarchic behind-the-scenes look at Paul Gross’ Hyena Road uses everything from psychedelia to instructional videos to question both the validity of war movies and Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.
Wherein Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, and Galen Johnson give Paul Gross’ wannabe populist war epic Hyena Road a right and proper cuadecuc-ing. Who would have thought Pere Portabella’s legendary experiment shot on the set of Jess Franco’s Count Dracula (1970) would inspire not one, but two films at this year’s TIFF—well, three, if you include Ben Rivers’ short A Distant Episode alongside his feature The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (which, likewise, is also inspired in part by Sam Peckinpah: a worm’s tail indeed!). Along with being fucking hilarious, Bring Me the Head of Tim Horton (a.k.a. Gross and Grosser) is a bona fide exploration into the depiction of violence in the cinema (video or emulsion, doesn’t matter), doing for the war film what Portabella did for the vampire movie. Does this make Stephen Harper a present-day Francisco Franco? You make the call.
Shot on the margins of the Jordanian shoot of Gross’ big-budget production, this mash-up is pitched as a kind of literal director’s monochromatic fever dream behind the scenes, as Canadians in uniform go about playing real soldiers, stalking their prey video-game-like. Why Maddin is wearing all black in the middle of the desert, lying on the ground supposedly playing a Taliban extra, is one of the many questions the film/installation only partially answers. Other pertinent queries include: Who or what is speaking the pseudo-intellectual gibberish that includes such memorable phrases as “the abandoned chesterfield of ontology?” Why did Paul Gross agree to this in the first place, and how the hell did Maddin and the Johnsons get away with it? Will this ever be shown again in public?
1.33GB | 31 min 9 s | 1280×720 | mkv