A dreamlike film that explores the jealousy and madness instilled in two men who share a hospital room in a gimli we no longer know. The two men einar and gunnar are friends at first until they share their darkest secrets.... more » Tale of creeping pestilence unconsummated passions reckless envy & necrohilia. Studio: Kino International Release Date: 10/10/2000 Starring: Kyle Mcculloch Angela Heck Run time: 68 minutes Rating: Nr Director: Guy Maddin« less
"This is a surreal film from Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin, his first feature. The story focuses on the town of Gimli, Manitoba, a long time ago, during an outbreak of smallpox. Two patients in a strange hospital become friends, then deadly rivals. The film is in its own surreal world, with the town of Gimli featuring unconventional behaviour, like the people washing their faces with straw, squeezing the insides of fish onto their heads, rubbing dead birds onto patient's wounds, a weird black-faced minstrel, a cow that lives under a bed, and many fishes that are present in most scenes. It really is a special piece of low budget surreal filmmaking, and is deservedly compared to David Lynch's Eraserhead. The DVD is quite good too. The picture is in full frame, and the image is good, giving the film its dark & peculiar look well. The sound is in mono and ok. The extras include an insightful commentary by director Guy Maddin, who describes everything about the film, and the trials of making it. The disc also includes two short Guy Maddin films, Hospital Fragment and The Dead Father. Both films are good, and not disimilar to the feature. It's refreshing to see a company like Kino releasing abstract films like this on to the DVD format. If you like surreal films, you have to own this disc."
MAKES YOUR HMO LOOK GOOD
Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 07/22/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"... "TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL" is the black and white first film from Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin and it reflects the best of the great silent and surrealist directors like F.W. Murnau, Luis Bunuel and Jean Cocteau. Originally released in 1988, this 68 minute nightmare is set during a smallpox epidemic in the village of Gimli, Manitoba, at the beginning of the 20th century. Friends Emar and Gunnar are two male patients who share a hospital room as well as their darkest secrets. Disturbing tales of creeping pestilence, unconsummated passions, envy, necrophilia are told climaxing in a deadly battle between the former friends now rivals. Moody, weird and atmospheric, the Gimli universe has been embraced by the midnight movie circuit and set the director's career in motion. The disc includes a crisp full frame transfer, an impish director's commentary and two of his short films."
A Gorgeous Melding of the Surreal and Folklore
john baez | New York | 06/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the very first frame, Guy Maddin's offbeat "Tales from the Gimli Hospital" takes us into a brilliantly conceived world where the surreal and the ancient merge to form one of the most unique and thrilling cinematic realms ever seen. Combining gothic sensibility with early twentieth century silent film techniques, Maddin creates an atmosphere drenched with visual delights, horrors and deep rooted symbolism. What Maddin has done with this film is create a visionary work that is nearly flawless. Although the film takes many viewings to fully sink in due to its strange structure and deliberately labyrinthine story telling, it is a fully realized piece of avant-garde cinema in the tradition of the great works of the silent German Expressionists. By taking ancient Icelandic folktales and blending them with incongrous and fantastical images onto a black and white celluloid canvas, Maddin has done with one film what few directors ever accomplish in their entire carreers ....the creation of a truly unique and worthy piece of cinemtaic art!"
For Specialized Sensibilities
Robin Simmons | 05/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Guy Maddin is the weirdest of the weirdest of the weird, so it's not surprising that some customer reviewers who generally like "wierd stuff" were disappointed by this, his first and most uncompromising full-length outing. He's way more idiosynchratic and insular even than early Lynch or Cronenberg. There is actually a coherent and macabrely funny story here about a male rivalry between two patients in the weirdest of all hospitals during the legendary (for Icelandic Manitobans, of which I am one) smallpox epidemic in the Icelandic settlement of Gimli. But after the movie's (really gross and distastefully misogynous) climactic revelation about the secret history that binds the two men, it loses itself in incomprehensible and very boring artsy nonsense. The film didn't say much to me on a first viewing, but parts of it have stayed with me. It really only deserves 3 stars as a whole, but I'll give it 4 because the early montage sequence featuring a series of bizarre (but historically faithful!) Icelandic grooming rituals is a surrealist treat, and both the VHS and DVD include Maddin's first film, the short film "The Dead Father," which is maybe the most emotionally lucid thing he's ever done and very funny for those who like black, surealistic humour. Further caveats: the production values and the acting are on a par with Ed Wood (the director, not the Burton movie), so don't expect polish, but the male leads have genuine charisma and Maddin has a superb visual sense, although it's more on display in his second feature, the ravishing "Archangel.""
Guy Maddin delivers !
verill | 08/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Visually stunning with great atmosphere and offbeat performances this is one of the most overseen films of the past 10 years. Guy Maddin is definitely a director to watch while the transfer of this disc was done very careful(got it?)ly. There's also a cool audio commentary with the director and two short films: "The Dead Father" (great !) and "Hospital Fragment".
For the record: buy this thing and be happy - period."