My Winnipeg

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Ann Savage as Mother and Darcy Fehr as Ledge Man in "My Winnipeg," a free-associative, fanciful autobiographical film from Canadian director Guy Maddin.

Directed by Guy Maddin. With Darcy Fehr, Ann Savage and Amy Stewart. Distributed by IFC Films. 1 hour, 20 mins. No MPAA rating (creepy imagery, profanity, adult themes). Playing at: Ritz at the Bourse.

Fans of Guy Maddin, the Canadian purveyor of irreverently surreal little pictures that look and feel as if they sprang from a forgotten era, a parallel universe, just need to know that My Winnipeg is here - and they're there.

For the uninitiated, however, I heartily recommend this free-associative, autobiographical gem. Commissioned by Canadian TV's Documentary Channel, the film is what Maddin calls a "docu-fantasia" - a skewed memory piece about the town where Maddin grew up, a Winnipeg with real street names and real edifices, but melded with a dreamscape of jarring images (dead horses trapped in the frozen river for an entire winter) and a whimsical concoction of local lore, family history, and made-up stuff.

Roaming around the old hockey stadia and department stores of the middle-Canadian burg, conjuring scenes from a forgotten TV series - Ledge Man, featuring a new suicide attempt each week! - and dissecting the relationships that shaped his youth, Maddin uses My Winnipeg to ponder bigger, darker questions about the nature of the past, the nature of memory.

Ann Savage, the femme fatale from a slew of old Hollywood noirs, is savagely funny as Maddin's beauty-parlor proprietress mom. - Steven Rea