Special Ed

Visit winnipegcinematheque.com for showtimes

Winnipeg has had its share of strange and unusual characters. Walk around Portage, the Exchange District or Osborne Village and you will likely come across more than one. Famed local filmmaker Guy Maddin, who is quite odd himself, made a myth-umentary in 2007 called My Winnipeg, which blends fact and fantasy to create a unique outlook on life in this weird city. Winnipeg is a trip down the rabbit hole;  a surreal odyssey that many take for granted. Canadian director John Pasklevich dives further into oddity with Special Ed.

The title of the film is actually very accurate in relation to its subject matter. Special Ed is about a special Winnipegger named Ed Ackerman. Throughout the film we get glimpses of Ed’s life and mind, dissecting what makes the man so eccentric.

A genie award winning filmmaker, Ed has an incredibly creative mind. As we all know, with creativity comes equal parts genius and insanity. While the documentary is being shot, Ed is not receiving any money to make a film; therefore he has loads of energy built up inside him. He uses this energy towards repairing three houses and making them into studios. The director does not miss any of Ed’s unfiltered and uncensored thoughts. He discusses many of his controversial views and the audience is shown his negative traits, yet we are also shown his compassion and selflessness.

A documentarian’s job is to be unbiased and not let personal views get into the way of telling a great story. Pasklevich does not make up our mind for us, rather he lets the audience decide how “special” Ed really is and if he is a guy you would have drinks with. Pasklevich does a great job at making Ed Ackerman larger than life. The film is sad, funny, joyful, inspiring and brilliant.

Visit pissonit.blogspot.ca for more reviews from Michael Carlisle

Published in Volume 68, Number 6 of The Uniter (October 10, 2013)

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