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Overall Rating
4.09

Awesome57.78%
Worth A Look: 20%
Just Average: 0%
Pretty Crappy: 17.78%
Sucks: 4.44%

4 reviews, 21 user ratings


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Saddest Music in the World, The
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by Jason Whyte

"'A caffeine fueled daze from one heck of a mad genius.'"
4 stars

The films of Guy Maddin will no doubt infuriate, anger and even terrify most moviegoers, who are not used to overcranked images in love with the melodramatic films of the past. Maddin loves his movies this way, and who are we to stop him? After seeing the trip "Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary" and the hellzapoppin "Cowards Bend The Knee" which were silent, perhaps I was not ready for a Maddin-fueled film with dialogue, but "The Saddest Music In The World" is certainly IT.

The film defies description. I could tell you that the film is about a Saddest Music competition at the time of the depression, run by a beer goddess (Isabella Rosselini) with glass legs; the contestants include a businessman (Mark McKinney) who is mostly a 30's player. But then I'm also forgetting to mention that the competition is about who can make the saddest music, involving countries from all over the world whose music also defy any sort of rational explanation. I'm also forgetting to mention that its winners get to slide into a pool of lager. Oh, and it's set in Winnipeg.

But that's Guy Maddin, Mad Genius at work. His images are fueled in a lot of black and white, diffused grain, changing camera formats, odd shifts to color...while something like "Cowards Bend The Knee" shifted the color to blue and "Dracula" changed frequent colors along with the camera stocks, here he changes everything at every time, from different film formats and sound formats, sometimes even within scenes. We have no idea where anything is going. And I love that.

That said, even I will admit that some of his style tends to get a bit tiring. His work is an acquired taste, to be sure, but less is more sometimes, and here he simply goes into full wacky mode by throwing absolutely everything he can at the screen. It can even be a bit disorienting. (Maybe even a quick intermission could be thrown in.) In "Saddest Music", Maddin really does want us to feel like we're watching a classic, post-sound depression area film that's been rung through the projector a few times and accidentaly colorized in a few areas.

I hope I've gotten my feelings of the film across, since I truly liked it despite its flaws, and I hope it can access more people to show who this Mad Maddin is. "The Saddest Music In The World" would not be my favorite work of his (that still belongs to the terrific "Dracula") but it's still a caffeinated, original piece of filmmaking that really needs to get its wacky self out there.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8245&reviewer=350
originally posted: 10/05/03 04:39:58
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sydney Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/02/07 fools♫gold Entertainingly unfunny, though more unoriginal than some might suggest I think. 5 stars
7/05/06 T. Maj Huh? 1 stars
3/23/05 Colleen Goldrick Enjoyable 4 stars
10/18/04 Misty De Meo I absolutely adored this film when I was lucky enough to catch it in theatres. 5 stars
9/12/04 C Porter Exhausting but thought provolking and fun 5 stars
8/02/04 Russ Sapienza Original, well-acted work 4 stars
8/01/04 April The film was absoulutely brilliant, I just loved McKinney's performance. 5 stars
6/08/04 Paula Jeanine bad acting, self-indulgent, cheap filming techniques are tiresome, too violent 2 stars
6/03/04 Ciaran Forced forced forced forced forced forced forced forced forced. 2 stars
5/22/04 sandra The movie was horrible! After ten minutes we walked out, too difficult to follow script 1 stars
2/21/04 Tom Ronca Another triumph from Canada's reigning auteur! 5 stars
2/18/04 Nathan Andersen Wonderful reinvention of film history; a postmodern melodrama, made as if in the '30s 5 stars
2/03/04 Edith Maddin is a master! 5 stars
1/27/04 Erin The film was bizarrely hilarious, witty and artistically interesting. LOVED IT 5 stars
1/25/04 Lizanne 'Metropolis' and 'Brazil' meet...good stuff 5 stars
12/22/03 tom great! 5 stars
12/02/03 art pellman the usual genius 5 stars
11/25/03 Jeannette McGlone Magically transporting. Hilarious, gut wrentchiing emotional parody, with music. Loved it 5 stars
11/03/03 Elfrieda Jillson A unique and ground breaking masterpiece from a true visionary! 5 stars
10/26/03 Jean-Philippe Luckhurst An amazing poetic and artistic adventure through music 5 stars
10/21/03 Guilherme Esteves Inovating and of a very good Black Humor 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  30-Apr-2004 (R)
  DVD: 16-Nov-2004

UK
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