If Guy Maddin's most accessible effort, THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD, failed to move you, I'm not even going to try to convince you to check out this hour-long film that was made roughly around the same time. Originally shown as a ten-part museum installation one had to fittingly view through a peephole, COWARD BENDS THE KNEE is one of Maddin's oddest (and most sexually lurid!) works.

It involves a dashing young hockey player named "Guy Maddin" (but played by Darcy Fehr) whose lustful appetite for "the joy, joy, joy of meeting someone new!" repeatedly lands him in hot water. Shot in the director's usual silent film homage style, it features such eccentric conceits as a beauty salon that doubles as a brothel by night, vamp seductresses with monikers like "Liliom" and "Meta", wax statutes that need to be fed, and quite a lot of nudity (both female and male).

Of course it's all nonsense, but even if it amounts to little more than a series of interrelated sketches, Maddin's editing is as intuitive as ever, and his narrative prowess continues to grow. This is undeniably one of his stranger efforts, but also probably his funniest (and sauciest) to date: a blend of German Expressionism and macabre horror, by way of Laurel and Hardy.