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The Saddest Music In The World review

A typically oddball curiosity from Canadian auteur Guy Maddin, set in Winnipeg during the Great Depression and shot in the style of a crackly black-and-white B-movie.

Isabella Rossellini plays Lady Port-Huntley, the beer baroness behind a bizarre contest to find the world's most maudlin music; having lost both legs in a car accident, she hopes the spectators will drink enough of her product to make them as legless as she is.

If this sounds sick, Maddin's just getting started. American entrant Chester (Mark McKinney) is dating his estranged brother's amnesiac wife (Maria de Medeiros). Successful competitors are dunked in a vat of ale at the end of each round. And, at one point, Rossellini is given a pair of glass legs filled with beer. Strange dialogue, too, with de Medeiros declaring, "I'm not an American, I'm a nyphomaniac!" Only in Maddin's surreal universe would such a line make perfect sense.

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