Synopsis by Mark Deming
The wildly idiosyncratic Canadian auteur Guy Maddin created this exercise in semi-autobiographical impressionism. Guy Maddin (Darcy Fehr) is a gifted but weak-willed hockey player who has helped drive the Winnipeg Maroons to a championship season. However, Maddin's sense of triumph is dashed when his girlfriend Veronica (Amy Stewart) informs him that she's pregnant. Incapable of dealing with parenthood, Maddin escorts Veronica to The Black Silhouette, a combination beauty shop and brothel where a cross-dressing doctor performs abortions. As Veronica is on the operating table, Maddin spies Meta (Melissa Dionisio) and immediately falls in love with her, leaving Veronica behind. While Meta is attracted to Maddin, she will not grant him her favors until he passes a test -- he must track down the man who murdered her father and kill him using her late father's own blue hands. Shot on Super-8 film, Cowards Bend the Knee was originally created by Maddin as an art installation presented at a Toronto gallery and at the Rotterdam Film Festival, where viewers watched the film in six-minute segments through peepholes; it was later released in a conventional full-screen version.
abortion, brothel, hockey-player, love-at-first-sight, murder, pregnancy, sports-star, transvestite, cross-dressing