Brand Upon the Brain!

Poster for Brand Upon the Brain!

Autumn 2007 Edge series

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 7:00pm

Acadia Cinema's Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main Street, Wolfville, NS

Directed by Guy Maddin

Starring Gretchen Krich, Sullivan Brown, Maya Lawson, Katherine E. Scharhon, Todd Moore, Andrew Loviska, Kellan Larson, and Erik Steffen Maahs

Rated NR · 1h 35m
United States / Canada

View trailer


Brand Upon the Brain! is the new supercharged fever dream silent film from visionary Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin.

With a labyrinthine plot that defies description, Brand Upon the Brain! is equal parts childhood reminiscence, expressionist horror movie, teen detective serial and Grand Guignol reverie. It concerns a character named Guy (played by Sullivan Brown as a youngster and Eric Steffen Maahs as an adult). Accepting his mother’s invitation to return to the island of Black Notch and the orphanage where he was raised, Guy makes his first trip home in thirty years.

Memories are everywhere on the island. Guy remembers his sister (Maya Lawson), his chastity-demanding mother (who watches over the land with her telescope), his workaholic scientist father and his own under-stimulated youth. Through young Guy’s eyes, we witness kaleidoscopic images: a coven in the marsh; his mother’s mysterious Romania-shaped birthmark; and secret codes and rendezvous. New turmoil is heaped upon his already-disquieting recollections by the arrival of celebrity teen detectives Wendy and Chance Hale (both played by Katherine E. Scharhon), who are investigating mysterious head wounds suffered by former charges of Guy’s enigmatically malevolent parents.

Maddin’s furious, dreamy visuals are nearly overwhelming while the film’s fascinating score and sound effects track both conjures and revolutionizes the silent-film aesthetic. With his misremembered autobiographical mélange of real and imaginary family drama, he warns that the past has a terrifying penchant for repeating itself but, for those who dare, nothing is impossible.