Whenever I’m asked to name a great director who always manages to stay off the popular radar, Guy Maddin is the first who comes to mind. He makes films to appeal to the hardcore film nerd: things that look like broken artifacts once buried under the foundation of an old hotel in the middle of nowhere. Most of his movies are black and white and often shot on 8mm or 16mm film with in-camera effects techniques that would have been current around the time King Kong made his first trip up the Empire State building.

Guy Maddin’s stories follow their own very strange logic, but despite a deliberately unusual approach to narrative, he creates characters that are effective and memorable. The people in his movies want the same things we all want; they just live in worlds where the rules are a little different from ours. His last few features are absolutely worth a look for anyone who isn’t shackled to the idea that films have to be modern in appearance or traditional in story structure. (My Winnipeg and The Saddest Music in the World, are streaming on Netflix, and Brand Upon the Brain! has a great Criterion release.)

He hasn’t had a new feature since the 2007 pseudo-documentary My Winnipeg, but now Keyhole — which features gangsters, the reanimated dead and a near-mythological journey — is almost ready to go. There are new stills from the film that features actors such as Jason Patric (a very interesting addition to his company), Isabella Rossellini and Udo Kier. The shots are beautiful. If I needed to hear more than ‘new Guy Maddin movie’ to get interested in Keyhole, these shots would do the trick. Check ‘em out after the break.

Twitch presented these photos, taken by Steve Ackerman. They’re production stills, but have enough classic Maddin vibe that they should give you a great idea of what the film will actually look like.

A gangster and deadbeat father, Ulysses Pick (Patric), returns home after a long absence. He is toting two teenagers: a drowned girl, Denny, who has mysteriously returned to life; and a bound-and-gagged hostage, who is actually his own teenage son, Manners. Confused Ulysses doesn’t recognize his own son, but he feels with increasing conviction he must make an indoor odyssey from the back door of his home all the way up, one room at a time, to the marriage bedroom where his wife Hyacinth (Rossellini) awaits.

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