In Guy Maddin’s Spanky: To the Pier and Back (2008) the focus is on a walk by the director and his four-legged friend. Shot in the town of Gimli, Manitoba, this film is centred around a walk that the Maddin and his beloved pug have presumably taken together many times before. When Maddin shows us Spanky, running to and fro, intercut with shots of the ebb and flow of the waves on the beach of Lake Winnipeg, he appears to be ascribing qualities of vibrancy, dynamism, and life to his beloved pet pug. The music throughout is slow and meditative, but an occasional minor key implies that all is not sunny on this walk. By the end of the film the music begins to sound like a dirge and we hear the sound of the lapping beach waves of Lake Winnipeg as the music reaches a crescendo of sorts. At the end, we are presented with a quick series of black screen shots for several seconds at a time, which provides an insight into why Maddin made this film. The film speaks about two themes: inter-species connections or relationships between a human and a dog, and the attachment of this relationship to a specific geography that is linked to loss.
We also acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
We would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.
Shot in the town of Gimli, Manitoba, this film is centred around a walk that the Maddin and his beloved pug have presumably taken together many times before.