- 1 hr 40 min
In 1992, filmmaker Guy Maddin released his surreal, often humorous film Careful, an exploration of repression, incest, and the beauty of Alpine scenery. Set in a fictional town located high in the mountains, the citizens of Tolzbad have been raised to live in perpetual fear. After a tragic incident in which an avalanche killed many residents, leaving few survivors, the community began to believe that simply speaking too loud or laughing too heartily could cause another disaster. Everyone whispers and tip-toes around, even though many of them have sinister secrets that they're hiding. The story follows the lives of two brothers, Johann (Kyle McCulloch) and Grigorss (Brent Neale), and their invalid mother Zenaida (Gosia Dobrowolska). Johann is his mother's favored son, while Grigorss is often ignored and feels unloved. Despite their mother's obvious infirmity, Johann is convinced that she's faking her illness and begins to fall in love with a beautiful nurse named Klara (Sarah Neville). As their passion grows, secret desires are reveled, and the family's problems are brought to the surface, leading to a series of events that will forever change the household's dynamics. The film's imagery is alluring, full of symbolism and surrealism. The camera glides through the translucent snow and ice, often depicting the characters from a bird's-eye view. The town's twisted architecture adds to the sense of foreboding, with pointed roofs and absurdly winding staircases. Meanwhile, the soundtrack, composed by Maddin himself, is comprised of a mixture of haunting melodies and discordant strings, perfectly capturing the eerie and unsettling tone of the film. One aspect of the film that stands out is Maddin's unique use of color. While the snowy landscapes are almost entirely white and gray, the characters' clothing is anything but. The costumes are a striking combination of reds and blues, making them pop against the stark background. This choice adds to the film's otherworldly feel, suggesting that the characters may exist outside of traditional reality. At its core, Careful is a black comedy, filled with absurd situations and characters that seem to be straight out of a dream. However, the film also has an undercurrent of melancholy and tragedy, as the characters grapple with their hidden desires and the isolation that comes from living in a town where speaking too loudly can be deadly. The film's finale is both chaotic and beautiful, as the characters realize that they can no longer hide their true selves and the town begins to come apart at the seams. While Careful may not be a film for everyone, its unique style and unforgettable imagery have made it a cult classic. Fans of David Lynch or Alejandro Jodorowsky will likely appreciate Maddin's vision, as well as anyone who enjoys a film that pushes boundaries and refuses to be easily categorized. Overall, Careful is a surreal, captivating film that will stay with viewers long after the credits have rolled.