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Movie Review: The Saddest Music in the World

Alternate Title: : The Worst Film in the World

Story: Oh, the horror, the boredom and the disappointment when one is subjected to a really bad film. Bad enough to walk out on, you ask? I have not walked out on a film since The Agony and the Ecstasy (and that was long before I began to hate Charlton Heston). No, I stayed mostly because it was too cold in the theater to get up and my friend seemed to be enjoying the film (more on that later).

Working with an original screenplay by Booker prize winner Kazuo Ishiguru (Remains of the Day) Canadian director Guy Madden, who has a cult following with such work products as Fleshpots of Antiquity, Twilight of the ice Nymphs and Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary delivers one mess of a film. The film starts with an intriguing visual style that includes such techniques as a '30s Expressionistic, stylized, grainy, mostly black and white image. He also throws in a blurry (think Vaseline on the lens) look. But what bothered me the most after ten minutes was that I felt like I was viewing the film through a key hole and not seeing the whole picture. I felt claustrophobic the entire time (not a good feeling for me).

This high concept mess of a film's story line involves a beer baroness from Winnipeg who decides to make even more money out of the fact that her city had been voted 'saddest city in the world' for three years running. She holds a music contest for the entire world to enter and compete for 'saddest music in the world.' The grand prize in the depression era of the '30s is $25,000.

Enter stereotypes from around the world. Everyone is made fun of (that part was funny). My movie buddy (and ex-Canadian) told me that perhaps one had to be Canadian to appreciate the film. Balderdash, I say! She found it to be filled with political statement. I found it to be silly, derivative and redundant. I can say that this is the first film that I have nodded off while watching in a very long time. But why spend $10.25 to nap in the theater when I could nap free in my living room while watching mindless TV?

Acting: It is always a joy to watch Isabella Rossellini even is this dredge of a film, as the legless beer baroness. She is sadly underutilized in American films and we are relegated to simply seeing her as the spokesmodel for Lancome. Alas, I think she has been replaced by another younger face in that limited role as well. Maria de Medeiros as Narcissa was intriguing. I hated all of the male characters.

Predilection: None.

Critters: None. It was too cold in Winnipeg for any critter to survive.

Food: Beer

Visual Art: The 1930s look was interesting (for a short time).

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: Delightful.

Opening Titles: Stylistically interesting which set up my hopes for a good film but soon sent me crashing down with a thud.

Theater Audience: Surprisingly full. There were a few people whooping and laughing uproariously throughout (perhaps they were Canadian).

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2

Squirm Scale: There is a flashback showing how the beer baroness lost her legs that is pretty gross and squirmy.

Predictability Level: Couldn't care less where this mess was headed.

Tissue Usage: I cried for joy when it was over.

Oscar Worthy: Ha!

Nit Picking: Don't get me started.

Big Screen or Rental: Trash can. For some other Isabella Rosellini films, how about renting: Rodger Dodger, Big Night, Immortal Beloved, Wild At Heart, Zelly and Me, Blue Velvet and White Nights.

Length: Under two hours.