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The Saddest Music in the World

Alternative cinema with a heavenly performance from Isabella Rossellini as Lady Port-Huntly, a beer baroness who, at the height of the Great Depression announces a global contest to find the world’s saddest tune in a darkly comic “dreamy dizzy musical.”  This is Canada so there’s no Prohibition. It would be giving away too much to reveal what Lady Port-Huntly is missing. Musicians from across the world - Mexican mariachi, African drummers, Scots pipers - manage to travel to Winnipeg to play their mournful tunes in the hope of winning a $25,000 prize. Failed Broadway producer Chester Kent (Mark McKinney) brings his painfully forgetful girlfriend Narcissa (Maria de Madeiros) home to his native city to be the US entrant. The family reunion in which he finds himself caught up, turns out to be as tangled and hazardous as the contest itself. In the end the twists of fate and a horrendous fire sort things out one way or another for the sad characters who are the contestants and the citizens of 1933 Winnipeg, saddest city on Earth. It’s certainly no Hollywood musical! 

The Canadian director is Guy Maddin ( Twilight of the Ice Nymphs / The Heart of the World / Archangel / Tales from the Gimli Hospital ), three of his bizarre short films are on the dvd too. It is based on an original screenplay by Kazuo Ishiguro whom we British know well for “The Remains of the Day” .

Good news: it’s now just Ł7.99 from play.com
This film is inspired madness of the first order. You won’t forget those beer-filled glass legs!

©RKW  from the Spring 2006 edition of O-to-K