Berlin: Behind the Scenes With Guy Maddin’s ‘Accidence’

Packing at least a feature film’s worth of action into a sleek and compulsively rewatchable nine minutes, “Accidence” is a witty new short from Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson. The directing trio behind irreverent and affectionate “Vertigo” homage “The Green Fog,” which played in Berlin accompanied by the world premiere of “Accidence,” takes their inspiration from a different Hitchcock classic this time. With the film unfolding as one unbroken take that, at the fullest expanse of its creeping zoom-out, frames thirty balconied apartments in which dramas both mysterious and mundane unfold, it is most redolent of a Winnipegian take on “Rear Window.”

But with Toronto-based musician Ensign Broderick providing the glitchy, melancholic torch song that plays throughout, and with its looping, time-defying structure, it also has the feel of an art-project music video, like Garth Jennings’ famous spot for REM’s “Imitation of Life.” Abounding in inventive visual detail, and littered with references to classical film genres and foundational works of literature alike, the short is not just a multi-faceted exercise in tricksy, fragmented, interlinked narrative, but an exploration of the directors’ shared obsession with “vertical living,” created, as they tell us in this mischievously droll making-of documentary, “between nosebleeds.”

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