Brand Upon the Brain!

( 4 )

Overview

Guy Maddin's lovingly twisted portrayal of a very unusual childhood in Central Canada comes to home video in a definitive presentation from the Criterion Collection. Brand Upon the Brain! has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at 1.85:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16 x 9 monitors. The film was shot on black-and-white Super-8 film and looks intentionally grainy as a result, but the transfer gives the image a slightly soft retro look while allowing the ...
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DVD (Wide Screen / B&W)
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Overview

Guy Maddin's lovingly twisted portrayal of a very unusual childhood in Central Canada comes to home video in a definitive presentation from the Criterion Collection. Brand Upon the Brain! has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at 1.85:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16 x 9 monitors. The film was shot on black-and-white Super-8 film and looks intentionally grainy as a result, but the transfer gives the image a slightly soft retro look while allowing the details to shine through; Maddin approved this transfer, and this disc does a superb job of replicating the picture's signature look. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Stereo, and the fidelity is excellent, capturing all the nuances of Jason Staczek's wonderful score. Brand Upon the Brain! was conceived as a silent film and for its initial engagements it was screened with in-person accompaniment by a 11-piece orchestra, a vocalist, sound effects artists, and a narrator. For their DVD release, Criterion has offered eight different audio options, with the music and effects accompanied by three studio-recorded narrative tracks featuring Isabella Rossellini, Louis Negin, and Maddin himself, as well as five tracks recorded during live presentations of the film featuring Rossellini, Laurie Anderson, John Ashbery, Crispin Glover, and Eli Walach. The narration is in English, and this DVD includes optional English subtitles but no multiple language options. As a bonus, this disc includes two short films by Maddin -- It's My Mother's Birthday Today, an impressionistic profile of vocalist Dov Houle, and Footsteps, which examines the process of creating the sound effects for the movie. Also featured is 97 Percent True, a documentary on Maddin's work and the making of Brand Upon the Brain!, as well a deleted scene and the original theatrical trailer. The accompanying booklet features a lively essay by Dennis Lim on Maddin and his films. Guy Maddin is a true maverick in the contemporary cinema, and no one else could have made Brand Upon the Brain!; few home video companies would have been willing to give this film such an attractive presentation, and none besides Criterion would have released it in so thorough a package, which is as strange and wonderful as the film itself.
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Special Features

Narration tracks by Isabella Rossellini, Laurie Anderson, John Ashbery, Crispin Glover, Guy Maddin, Louis Negin, and Eli Wallach; "97 Percent True," a new documentary featuring interviews with the director and his collaborators; Two new short films directed by Maddin exclusively for this release: It's My Mother's Birthday Today and Footsteps; Deleted scenes; Trailer; Plus: A new essay by film critic Dennis Lim
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Any Guy Maddin film is a unique experience, and Brand Upon the Brain! is no exception. In its initial theatrical engagements, the film was shown as a silent movie, accompanied not only by a live orchestra but by rotating on-site narrators and sound effects pros. Even without those extras and with prerecorded sound effects, score, and narration by Isabella Rossellini, Brain remains a remarkable piece of cinema. True, not every viewer will get "into" the film -- there's a reason Maddin remains a cult filmmaker, after all. But Brain may be more accessible than many of the director's other films. Yes, the story it tells is still somewhat confusing and off-putting; it continues to challenge viewers on a number of levels, both in terms of meaning and the emotions it evokes. However, Brain is also a tremendous amount of ghoulish fun, and its genre leanings -- horror, teen sexuality, amateur sleuth, etc. -- provide some familiar guideposts that keep an audience member fairly secure. Some viewers will still be turned off by the florid style that Maddin imposes on his actors, and the sometimes shatteringly fast cuts and the general jumpiness of the scenes will also detract some. But those who commit to Brain will be dazzled with the results, as Maddin continues to make a case that grainy black-and-white can qualify as achingly gorgeous. Overflowing with imagination, Brand Upon the Brain! is also that rare "artsy" film that is also fun -- and that by itself should win over many admirers.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/12/2008
  • UPC: 715515031127
  • Original Release: 2006
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / B&W
  • Sound: silent
  • Time: 1:39:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 3,280

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gretchen Lee Krich Mother
Sullivan Brown Young Guy Maddin
Clayton Corzatte Old Father
Technical Credits
Guy Maddin Director, Screenwriter
AJ Epstein Executive Producer
Joy Fairfield Casting
Brian Grant Associate Producer
John Gurdebeke Editor
Amy E. Jacobson Producer
Benjamin Kasulke Cinematographer
Tania Kupczak Production Designer
Gregg Lachow Producer
Nina Moser Costumes/Costume Designer
Jody Shapiro Executive Producer
Jason Staczek Score Composer
George Toles Screenwriter
Anna Waggoner Asst. Director
Philip Wohlstetter Executive Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Brand Upon the Brain!
1. Logos/Opening Credits [:13]
2. Going Home [8:27]
3. Black Notch Memories [7:10]
4. Interlude: The Aerophone [:56]
5. Dark Schedule [6:44]
6. Wendy's Chance [4:45]
7. To Find Another Wendy [8:58]
8. The Undressing Gloves [7:21]
9. Butter On the Wall [8:04]
10. A Moaning Heap of Flesh [9:31]
11. An Un-Funeral [10:04]
12. A Secret Grove [7:08]
13. New Regime [3:42]
14. The Return of His Spring! [12:36]
15. End Credits [2:02]
1. Autobiography [6:15]
2. Film & Lit [8:11]
3. Self-Mythologize [14:03]
4. Capturing Images [7:40]
5. Music & the Live Show [13:54]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Brand Upon the Brain!
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
      Color Bars
   Narrators
      Isabella Rossellini
      Guy Maddin
      Louis Negin
      Laurie Anderson: Live
      John Ashbery: Live
      Crispin Glover: Live
      Isabella Rossellini: Live
      Eli Wallach: Live
      About the Narrators
   Supplements
      It's My Mother's Birthday Today
         Play
      Footsteps
         Play
      97 Percent True
         Play
         Index
      Deleted Scene
         Play
      Original Theatrical Trailer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A true gem of a film

    Canadian Director Guy Maddin brings to life a queer world in one of his best films Brand Upon the Brain! A black and white, partially silent film released in 2006, Brand Upon the Brain! features haunting imagery and an avant-garde sense of storytelling to immerse the viewer in what can only be described as something truly original. The Criterion Collection gives the film its usual star treatment, with amazing picture and sound quality, along with some very interesting extras (including the narration that accompanies the film read by a slew of actors). If you like thinking about a movie for days after you've watched it, do yourself a favor and see this one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2010

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews