(2003) dir. Guy Maddin
The concept of this movie seemed kind of interesting. Isabella Rossellini is a legless but always gorgeous beer queen in Winnipeg during the Depression who invites representatives of all countries to come for a contest for who can create The Saddest Music in the World. While there is a lot of poeticism in this concept, it’s also played for hilarity and bizarreness. But it had stayed in mind and I thought I would give it a whirl.
It’s shot in a steady mostly black and white, faux early cinema style, with odd movement, grainyness and masking. Even this style is fairly taxing and put on. It certainly has a style, one that doesn’t necessarily exude quality. I haven’t read about the ways that he created this effect, but it was pretentious and didn’t play that well for me.
There is a lot of interesting stuff in here, though, maybe mostly images, like the beer-filled glass legs that Rossellini dons as a gift.
I don’t know. Maybe this whole thing will sink in differently over time. I didn’t dig the visual style or the tone exactly. The whole thing kind of annoyed me, to be honest. I used to really like Mark McKinney in The Kids in the Hall, but for some reason he just annoyed me in this film. A lot of it just didn’t work.
There was some weird Canadian-ness to this film, and an analysis of place and country identity with each country played for stereotypical dress and music. And an unsurprising anti-American-ness exemplified by McKinney’s adoption of the country as its representative and his Hollywoodization and commoditization of the whole process. This was sort of interesting, but I didn’t get it completely either.
I guess that is the theme of this entry.