Guy Maddin makes the most beautiful films that can sometimes be quite challenging to watch. If you haven’t seen his work, imagine that Eisenstein had moved to Winnipeg in the 20s and started making films…that’s a good way to start to think about what he does. The Saddest Music in the World is a remarkable, perfect film. It’s perfect in the sense that I can’t think of anything that would need to be changed. It’s completely unique and works within an amazing cinematic space that seems to be 70 years old, but also comments in elliptical ways on contemporary events. The film ranges from melodramatic to hilarious with an improbable plot that works.
The beautiful Isabella Rossellini stars as a brewery magnate, Lady Port-Huntley, who decides to sponsor a radio contest to find the saddest music in the world in order to increase the consumption of beer. That’s just the jumping off point and the film moves through a wonderful world that could only exist on film. The visuals and the soundtrack are amazing with loving attention to every detail. A great film makes you look at the world in a different way, but this film makes you look at cinema in a different way.