Winnipeg 1933: it's the midst of the Great Depression and beer Baroness Lady Port-Huntly (Isabella Rossellini) announces a global competition to find the saddest music in the world. Musicians from across the globe - from Mexican mariachi to Scottish bagpipers to African drummers - travel to Winnipeg to play their woeful tunes in hopes of winning the $25,000 grand prize. Failed Broadway producer Chester Kent (Mark McKinney) brings his amnesiac girlfriend Narcissa (Maria de Medeiros) home to his native Winnipeg and enter the competition as the American contingent. He soon finds himself embroiled in a family reunion as treacherous and twisted as the competition itself. Ultimately, a cataclysmic fire and the machinations of fate sort matters out for the sad characters and the denizens of the saddest city on earth. Part musical melodrama, part tongue-in-cheek social satire, Guy Maddin's expressionistic film achieves a level of lunacy rarely seen since the Marx Brothers.
typical Canadian fare . . . but on acid
- The Saddest Music in the World review by Charlotte
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While crictically acclaimed in some circles this 'art house' flick has all the usual features of a Canadian film. Lots of funerals and snow and a plot line that leaves you depressed by the time the film's finished.
The film also has some additional unique features: the plot is convoluted and absurd and it pretends to be a 30s flick, not just a film based in the 30s.
Definitely the worst Canadian film I've ever watched.
My Mother and I stuck it out to the bitter end but I think only because we felt we owed to a fellow Canuck. My British Father had no such qualms and found something else to do in the opposite side of the house within about 10 min.