The Saddest Music in the World

Director: Guy Maddin
Year Released: 2003
Rating: 1.0

I have a theory about Maddin and I think it holds up: the films where he excises dialogue altogether are a lot better than the ones where he actually has the actors doing traditional acting and emitting his particular brand of silly dialogue, since he gets too consumed with plot and jokes rather than his real gift - making hypnotic experiments. The concept, too, wears thin well before the end, as different countries compete with each other over who can play the 'saddest music' - once the point becomes clear (all countries have sad events to sing about), it all matters less and less. Looks great, naturally, and I like not knowing how he pulls off his visual gimmickry - tinted frames and tweaked frame rates and creative lens flare - but is significantly less relevant as a picture than Cowards Bend the Knee from the same year.