Stump The Guesser

Stump The Guesser

Director: Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson

Runtime: 19 minutes, Short, Silent

Cast: Adam Brooks, Brent Neale, Stephanie Berrington

Synopsis: A vaudevillian showman works at the fairground as “Stump the Guesser”, who can guess anything for a fee. But suddenly his tricks stop working. Then, he falls in love with his sister whom he believed to be lost. He sets out to scientifically disprove the theory of heredity and marry his beloved as soon as possible.


Guy Maddin – the Canadian director, installation artist, screenwriter – and the Johnson brothers set off uncontrollable, surrealist fireworks in this dream-like ode to Soviet cinema which takes in crabs, fairgrounds, genetics, and incest—all visualized in hallucinatory montage and pops of neon colour amid the monochrome.

It is another one of Guy Maddin’s inventive and playful short/silent films full of crazy ideas and cinematic references.

The Canadian auteur was born in 1956 in Winnipeg. He has directed 12 feature films including The Forbidden Room (2015) and the Saddest Music in the World (2006).  He has presented numerous performances of his films around the world with live elements such as an orchestra, sound effects, singing and narration. Since 2011, he has been collaborating with Galen Johnson and Evan Johnson in the filmmaking collective, Development Ltd.

Stump the Guesser deploys an explosion of expressionist effects to tell the story of a carnival mentalist who sets out to disprove genetics in order to marry his sister in this highly entertaining. absurdist silent film in crisp black and white.

Inventive and frequent references to Soviet constructivist techniques, using the fast montage and close-ups on faces that are found in films like Battleship Potemkin.

Playful and inventive, thought provoking, funny and brilliantly produced with superb acting,excellent  music choices and sound design, clever editing and animation resulting is an uproariously fun short film.

Streaming on MUBI

Images courtesy of MUBI