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The Saddest Music in the World

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 


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