In New York this past weekend, Guy Maddin’s cult classic experienced a rebirth and transformation in its new incarnation, Tales from the Gimli Hospital: Reframed. As part of the Performa 11 New Visual Art Performance Biennial, Maddin’s frankly bizarre first film was screened to the accompaniment of new narration and singing by Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir (formerly of múm, and also known as Kria Brekkan), and live orchestration and sound effects directed by the filmmaker himself.

We note this with a mixture of wonder and amusement, having seen the original film back in 1989 at Philadelphia’s venerable small-screen Roxy Theatre. Nearly 23 years later, we can still say it is one of the strangest cinematic experiences we’ve ever encountered. Definitely not first date material (trust us on this). Then again, it is probably a shade more romantic than the cult classic we subjected ourselves to on yet another ill-fated late ’80s date: the great Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, & Her Lover. But that’s a story for another day…

Watch the original Tales from the Gimli Hospital trailer on YouTube
Film synopsis and information on IMDb
Description of Tales from the Gimli Hospital: Reframed on Performa 11 website
Review of the performance by Ken Johnson for the New York Times
And why not? Synopsis of The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, & Her Lover on Rotten Tomatoes

image: poster for Tales from the Gimli Hospital, designer unknown