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The Heart of the World

(2000, Maddin)

"Tragic calculations! Triple-checked! No mistakes! The world is dying of heart failure!"

Set in an alternate reality, The Heart of the World follows Anna (Leslie Lais), a scientist studying the Earth's core (or "heart"). As she is being courted by two brothers: Nikolai (Shaun Balbar) and Osip (Caelum Vatnsdal), a theater actor, she discovers that the "heart" of the world is in danger and she must warn the population to avoid a catastrophe.

This is a very interesting short film, not only for its odd plot but mostly for the way it is constructed. Writer and director Guy Maddin set out to make a film that was as frenetic as possible, at roughly two shots per second, but also constructed in a style that is reminiscent of very early German and Russian silent films, like Metropolis.

The plot doesn't make a lot of sense; there is a fairly evident subtext of science vs. religion vs. capitalism, the latter represented by an industralist that seduces Anna, but everything is presented in such a frantic pace that it doesn't quite let you absorb it. Still, at the end of the day, it all takes a backseat to the interesting execution which is the driving force of this short film.