8/28/2006

The Saddest Music In The World

At Ziggy’s behest, I watched a film on the weekend called The Saddest Music in the World. He declared my fellow Canadian Guy Maddin, director and screenwriter, a genius or someone in need of intense therapy.

I can recall hearing about the film back when it debuted but it somehow managed toget pushed from my memory. Rather than be charged with dereliction of duty to hearth and home, I settled in for a look.

The picture was charmingly oddball and inventively shot. The sets were a bit small and off kilter with interesting (mostly black and white) lighting effects providing atmosphere.


At times, it looked like a play taking place in a snow globe and filtered through several tasty pints of beer. Speaking of beer, the lovely Eesa-bella Rossellini plays Lady Helen Port-Huntley who runs a tavern. She decides to host a contest in Depression era Winnipeg to find a contender from all the countries of the world that can come up with the saddest music. What she’s really doing is profiteering and presenting a plot point that will serve to introduce us to an unlikely love triangle that will propel the story forward.

It may be a little more complicated than that actually. It might or might not involve some missing legs. Oh, and now that I think about it? What's a four letter word for love triangle, one with five people? I know! M-E-S-S! Yes, mess, but it's one worth sorting out on a quiet Sunday morning.

Adding an additional layer of kook is Maria de Medeiros who I last saw driving a cab in Pulp Fiction and before that driving herself between Henry Miller and his wife in Henry & June. Mark McKinney, David Fox and Ross McMillan round out the major players in the film and they’re entertaining to watch with Fox and McMillan being particularly well used.

Music plays an expectedly wonderful role in the proceedings and the soundtrack is something I’d like to hear out of context of the film to hear how it might work.

I declare Guy Maddin an underappreciated genius and hereby reclaim my proud citizenship.

Cheers.

17 comments:

Chancelucky said...

I came very close to renting this movie several months ago, then totally forgot about it. I was intrigued by the concept, but just wasn't in the mood at the time. Thanks for bringing it back to my attention. Guess I'll add it to my Netflix waiting list.

mellowlee said...

This one has been playing on Movie Central for the last while, but I had no idea what it was. I think I will give it a watch now. Thanks Dale. Maria de Medeiros is so damn cute, she always makes me smile :)

Coaster Punchman said...

George saw this and didn't like it for some reason, but I'm going to give it a try.

chelene said...

Why haven't I heard about this movie before, Dale? I'm the Queen of sad music!

Dale said...

The tension in your comment was palpable Chancelucky. You were so close. Was it just your mood or something else? Volleyball? Planetary concern? Hope you enjoy it.

Maria is cute Lee and reminds me a British actress who I can't think of now. She was in Topsy Turvy and I think Gosford Park. I'll have to look her up.

It's worth a look CP. I wonder now what George didn't like.

Queen of drama you mean Chelene? Wow, that reads a couple of ways doesn't it? You must at least look it up on Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB and think on it. Or ask Daphne Rubin Vega when you're waiting outside her stage door tomorrow night.

Tenacious S said...

Okee dokee, I saw this as well. I don't know. I thought the cinematography was beautiful and unique, but the whole thing seemed a bit contrived to me.

Dale said...

I'm glad you at least liked the cinematography Tenacious S. I'm making you some extra legs so we can have a drink and discuss the contriversy.

justacoolcat said...

Well, I'm not sad, but I do like beer so this can't be half bad.

X. Dell said...

I'll see the movie just because It's-a-bell is in it.

Dale said...

It's beer so it's good CC. But if you look at the poster, is the leg half full or....hey! put that down.

She's great isn't she? Plus it's fun to say her name in any way other than a Wasp-y way.

Beth said...

I need to rent this. Soon.

gizmorox said...

I saw this in the theater a zillion years ago (or maybe three). I remember being somewhat confused but liking it a lot anyway. Only Isabella could make a glass leg that sexy.

Dale said...

It was pretty good Beth but don't put the REM induction on hold or anything.

You may have been confused by seeing Mark McKinney from Kids in the Hall as the male lead Gizmo. Isabella is pretty damned cool for sure.

ziggystardust73 said...

Glad to hear that you've reclaimed your citizenship, Dale!

Here's to you and the saddest music in the world.

Saviour Onassis said...

I was told by someone who should know better that Guy Maddin is the Canadian equivalent of David Lynch. I had seen his films in the "cult" section and thought that "The Saddest Music" might be worth a look. I thought the film was okay, but lacked the emotional resonance of Lynch's work. Isabella is fantastic in the film, but it's been a while since I have seen it. All I can remember about it is those damn legs!

Dale said...

Hey Ziggy, I thought I was safe for now although I admitted to not knowing much about author Robertson Davies on Coaster Punchman's World so everything's up in the air again. The next time anyone asks isn't such and such a Canadian great, I will say oh yes, I love him or her.

I enjoy David Lynch too Saviour although I think at times, he just doesn't know where to go with an idea and leaves things hanging there. This causes everyone to go oooooh really loudly and overanalyze what he might have meant. Plus, I'm a midget so you never know, he might hire me someday!

Dale said...

Hey Ziggy, I thought I was safe for now although I admitted to not knowing much about author Robertson Davies on Coaster Punchman's World so everything's up in the air again. The next time anyone asks isn't such and such a Canadian great, I will say oh yes, I love him or her.

I enjoy David Lynch too Saviour although I think at times, he just doesn't know where to go with an idea and leaves things hanging there. This causes everyone to go oooooh really loudly and overanalyze what he might have meant. Plus, I'm a midget so you never know, he might hire me someday!