Gilbert Cruz
November 16, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Saddest Music in the World

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
99 minutes
Limited Release Date
04/30/04
performer
Maria De Medeiros, Mark McKinney, Isabella Rossellini, David Fox, Brent Neale
director
Guy Maddin
author
Kazuo Ishiguro
genre
Comedy, musical

We gave it an A

About halfway through Canadian director Guy Maddin’s latest oddity, The Saddest Music in the World, double amputee Isabella Rossellini straps on a pair of lager-filled glass legs. In some ways, it says all one needs to know about this screwy yet alluring Depression-era film, starring Rossellini as Lady Port-Huntley, a Winnipeg beer baroness who sponsors a $25,000 contest to determine which nation has the most melancholy music on earth.

Aside from the wonderfully absurd plot, Maddin’s cinematic tricks (such as Vaseline-smeared lenses and rear-projection screens) strengthen the energetic performances of Rossellini and Kids in the Hall‘s Mark McKinney, whose Broadway producer astutely pegs America’s music as ”sadness, but with sass and pizzazz.”

EXTRAS Two humdrum making-ofs and three shorts by Maddin, one of which, the hilarious ”Sissy-Boy Slap-Party,” features effeminate sailors walloping each other.

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