Underground Film Journal

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Video: George Kuchar Vs. Guy Maddin

By Mike Everleth ⋅ September 15, 2011

In one corner, we have George “The Bronx Bomber” Kuchar. In the other corner is Guy “The Winnipeg Destroyer” Maddin. These two cinematic titans met at the 5th annual WNDX Festival of Film and Video Art in 2010 to … sit down and have a pleasant chat about life and pictures. WNDX recorded the entire conversation on video, which you can watch embedded above.

Moderator Irene Bindi opens the conversation by having Maddin relate how he was introduced to Kuchar’s work, which is a familiar story among those who fell into the Kuchar world. Personally, it’s my own same story, even though my first Kuchar film was George’s twin brother Mike’s Sins of the Fleshapoids — although George did film a bit of it and co-starred in a scene-stealing role. But, one sees a Kuchar film and if the magic strike, it’s like being delivered a message from God personally, as Maddin describes.

Maddin also addresses the key issue with George’s work: So little of it is available to be screened. George doesn’t seem too interested in his own cinematic posterity, which the complete lack of ego is very refreshing, if frustrating to his fans who want to see it all. George’s philosophy is that one makes a picture, screens it, then moves on to the next without looking back.

Although, George does drop a bit of a bombshell: Martin Scorsese is hoarding his work. “The little guy,” as George calls him, has had George’s early Super 8 work blown up to 16mm, which is all sitting somewhere waiting for somebody to do something with it.

I think we were all living in a world where we believed George Kuchar was going to keep cranking out his pictures regularly and that the digital distribution age was going to catch up to his oeuvre. But, now we all sadly know there will be no new George Kuchar pictures, so this is the perfect time for Scorsese’s foundation to honor his legacy and get what they have out there.

The 6th annual WNDX is going to run this year on Sept. 29 to Oct. 2 and will open up with Kuchar’s The Nutrient Express, fittingly a picture about George’s visit to Winnipeg for last year’s fest. Also, WNDX is also hosting Maddin’s Hauntings film installation all month long.

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