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July 17, 2006 | by  | in Film |
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The Saddest Music in the World (2003)

If you’re sad, and like beer, I’m your lady.” The tagline seductively enticed me. This is the first film that introduced me to director Guy Maddin, whose array of spectacular films is inspired by 1920’s German Expressionism, and silent film era. His work reminds me of Tim Burton’s – not only by the visual style, but the black-humour, and out of the ordinary tales, although I prefer Maddin as his films exude sophistication.

The Saddest Music in the World pic. The Saddest Music in the World is a dreamy film. The setting was laden with sodden snow. Combined with the surreal quality of old silent films it creates blurry edges and muffled dialogue, which made me feel as if I was drowning in the movie. Which is a good thing! Set in the Great Depression, Lady Helen Port-Huntley (played by the timeless Isabella Rossellini) launches an international competition to find which nation makes the saddest music, with the grand prize of $25,000 (hey, money was scarce and it was the 20s…gosh). Yes, this film sounds pretty straight-forward, however did I mention functional beer-filled prosthetic legs made out of glass, and an insane scene (wait, there are many) reminiscent of the botched job Dr. Phil made in Scary Movie 3.

Maddin’s films are definitely worth checking out, and The Saddest Music in the World is a perfect start. Search it out at your local DVD store, and be immersed in the delicious flavour of the 20s in this visually classic yet modern film.

Directed by GUY MADDIN

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