The Saddest Music in the World (2003)

directed by Guy Maddin
with: Isabella Rosellini, Mark McKinney, Ross McMillan, Maria de Medeiros, David Fox

The Saddest Music in the World is so aesthetically pleasing, visually unique (20's and 30's silent film style), narratively inventive and entertaining that you wouldn't want to miss a second. The premise is simple and easy to follow, but the shots, the dialogues and the story go all over the place and rapidly change, demanding your full attention. In order to get the true feel of Maddin's work, one has to get completely involved in the story so that it makes more sense and pieces fall into place. So the provocative becomes funny and the strange and surreal become natural, part of that world that you decided to dive into. This world is not silent and all black and white, but it is shot with an 8mm, looks grainy and blurry, reminisces the old but feels fresh. 

The Saddest Music in the World takes place in Winnipeg ("the sorrow capital of the world"), during the depression era (people are sad and moneyless) . Lady Port-Huntly announces a worldwide contest in which participants represent their countries by playing 'the saddest music in the world' in order to win a prize of 25,000 "depression-era" dollars. The premise, explained from the beginning hits as instantly absurd, defining the evolving moments of the story. 

As love, memories, grief, pride, self-interest and surrealism mix, things begin to fall apart, as does everything as fragile as an unstable economy. 

Must see for those who enjoy silent film style and surrealism.
Recommended for those who appreciate the unconventional. 
Rating: 8.75/10

1 comment:

Brent said...

Great review. It really was fascinating. It reminded me of a David Lynch film a few times in a positive way. Interesting director to be sure.