This completely mad film is the first and only that I’ve seen by Guy Maddin, the noted Canadian independent. Often we go to a film hoping to see something that we’ve never seen before, and just as often we’re frustrated. Not this time. This very funny comedy/musical/melodrama is an original, although it’s designed to look like an old film: the feel of German expressionism is evoked by the stylized sets (which Maddin designs and helps build). It’s largely in B&W with brief segments of Technicolor. Everything is a bit grainy and targeted areas of the frame are overexposed. It stars Isabella Rosellini as a Depression-era beer company owner in Winnipeg (“the world capital of sorrow”) who sponsors a competition to determine which of the world’s countries boasts the saddest music.
- May 27, 2004