7.2/10
5,248
93 user 105 critic

The Saddest Music in the World (2003)

A musical of sorts set in Winnipeg during the Great Depression, where a beer baroness organizes a contest to find the saddest music in the world. Musicians from around the world descend on the city to try and win the $25,000 prize.

Director:

Writers:

(original screenplay), | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

From $4.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
6 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Nikolai, a mortician, and Osip, an actor playing Christ in a play, are brothers in love with the same woman. Anna, a state scientist and said woman, is in love with both brothers and ... See full summary »

Director: Guy Maddin
Stars: Leslie Bais, Caelum Vatnsdal, Shaun Balbar
My Winnipeg (2007)
Documentary | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Fact, fantasy and memory are woven seamlessly together in this portrait of film-maker Guy Maddin's home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Director: Guy Maddin
Stars: Darcy Fehr, Ann Savage, Louis Negin
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Returned home to his long-estranged mother upon a request from her deathbed, a man raised by his parents in an orphanage has to confront the childhood memories that have long haunted him.

Director: Guy Maddin
Stars: Gretchen Krich, Sullivan Brown, Maya Lawson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

It's time for hockey! There's no telling what will happen when the Winnipeg Maroons' own star player Guy becomes embroiled in the twisted lives of Meta, a vengeful Chinoise, and her ... See full summary »

Director: Guy Maddin
Stars: Darcy Fehr, Melissa Dionisio, Amy Stewart
Careful (1992)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In the Alpine village of Tolzbad in the 1800s, the townsfolk talk quietly and restrain their movements lest they incur avalanches. This atmosphere lends itself to repressed emotions - shown... See full summary »

Director: Guy Maddin
Stars: Kyle McCulloch, Gosia Dobrowolska, Sarah Neville
Comedy | Horror | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A ballet rendition of Bram Stoker's gothic novel DRACULA, presented in a style reminiscent of the silent expressionistic cinema of the early 20th Century. This work employs the subtle and ... See full summary »

Director: Guy Maddin
Stars: Wei-Qiang Zhang, Tara Birtwhistle, David Moroni
Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A never-before-seen woodsman mysteriously appears aboard a submarine that's been trapped deep under water for months with an unstable cargo. As the terrified crew make their way through the... See full summary »

Directors: Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson
Stars: Roy Dupuis, Clara Furey, Louis Negin
Keyhole (2011)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Gangster and deadbeat dad, Ulysses Pick, embarks on an unusual journey through his home.

Director: Guy Maddin
Stars: Jason Patric, Isabella Rossellini, Udo Kier
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

While their mother is dying in the modern Gimli, Manitoba hospital, two young children are told a tale by their Icelandic grandmother about Einar the Lonely, his friend Gunnar, and the ... See full summary »

Director: Guy Maddin
Stars: Kyle McCulloch, Michael Gottli, Angela Heck
Seances (2016)
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Pieces of film are randomly composited together via computer to create unique short films that can be seen once and never again.

Director: Guy Maddin
Stars: Mathieu Amalric, Deena Aziz, Vasco Bailly-Gentaud
The Green Fog (2017)
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Directors: Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson, and 1 more credit »
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
David Fox ...
Fyodor Kent
Ross McMillan ...
Roderick Kent / Gravillo the Great
...
Blind Seer
...
Teddy
...
Duncan Elksworth
...
Mary
Jeff Sutton ...
Graeme Valentin ...
Young Roderick
Maggie Nagle ...
Chester's Mother
Victor Cowie ...
Man in Bar
Jessica Burleson ...
Lady's Secretary
...
Boardmember

Comic-Con 2017: All Aboard the IMDboat

 | 

July 20 to 23, 2017

Get entertainment news, trailer drops, and photos with IMDb's coverage of 2017 San Diego Comic-Con featuring host and IMDboat captain Kevin Smith. Watch our exclusive celebrity interviews, and tune in to our LIVE show from 3:30 to 5 p.m. PDT on Saturday, July 22.

Browse Our Guide to Comic-Con

Edit

Storyline

It's the winter of 1933 in Winnipeg. In honor of Winnipeg being named the sorrow capital of the world for the Depression era for the fourth year running by the London Times, Lady Helen Port-Huntley, the legless owner of Winnipeg's Port-Huntley Beer, is hosting and judging a contest to see which nation has the saddest music in the world, the winner to take home a $25,000 prize. Seeing as to the current Prohibition in the United States, Lady Port-Huntley has ulterior motives for the contest. Father and son, streetcar conductor Fyodor Kent and New York based musical producer Chester Kent, who both have a past connection to Lady Port-Huntley (Fyodor, a WWI veteran and former doctor, has fashioned for her an unusual pair of artificial legs apropos to her business), want to represent Canada and the United States respectively in the contest. Despite Lady Port-Huntley's hatred for the Kent's, she does allow them to do so if only to advance her own priorities. As the contest takes place, the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"If you're sad, and like beer, I'm your lady."

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality and violent images | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

12 May 2005 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

A Canção Mais Triste do Mundo  »

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$37,743 (USA) (30 April 2004)

Gross:

$669,128 (USA) (23 July 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Some actors are given an "additional camera" credit, as they shot footage on handheld Super8 cameras. See more »

Quotes

Chester Kent: Sadness is just happiness turned on its ass.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Maddin (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

The Red Maple Leaves - Salon Version
(1938)
Written by Jimmy Kennedy and William Grosz
Arranged by Christopher Dedrick
Vocal by David Fox
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Terrific Satire-Comedy
16 July 2004 | by (Boerne, TX) – See all my reviews

I saw Guy Maddin's film last weekend, not really knowing much about it other than it's premise, which was too absurd to pass up. A double amputee parapalegic beer baroness with glass legs filled with her own beer holding a contest during Prohibition to find the saddest music in the world? Where do people come up with this stuff?

The film is an interesting conglomeration of styles from films before and around the era in which it is set. The 8 mm footage with the stereopticon lens is reminiscent of the earliest films, and the distorted sets created in a studio are reminiscent of the German expressionist films. This is combined with a 30's musical and conversational style, including bits of "Technicolor" thrown in for good measure. I would have to see the film again, but I would like to go back and see it again to determine the link between the scenes which are suddenly shot in color as compared to the grainy black and white images that grace the rest of the film.

Despite the quizzical looks from the three fellow moviegoers who occupied the theatre, I found myself laughing out loud quite a few times at the film's caustic humor. The matches between the music from each country are like something out of a gangland film, with each side advancing toward each other menacingly during their performance. Some of the countries who perform in the competition reflect Maddin's satirical side, including a winning performance from Serbia (of all places) and an entry from the "country" of Africa (as if we in North America don't know any of the individual nations on the continent).

The entwining of satire and comedy continues in the musical performances and the competition's radio commentators. Maybe it's just me, but the funeral dirges from some countries (most notably "Africa" and Scotland) are not really "sad" at all, as they are a bit loud and a bit too upbeat. The greatest offender is the American entry, who turns the competition into a showcase for his Broadway ambitions, eschewing the premise of the competition with the blessing of Lady Port-Huntley, who incidentally is his former-current lover. The idiotic commentators obnoxiously chatter over a loudspeaker even as the musicians are performing, delivering such priceless wisdom as "Siam is known for its dignity, twins, and cats."

The themes of the film revolve around the separation between the rich and the poor (one character enjoys a psychic connection with her tapeworm), American excess, Canadian self-loathing, humanity's relentless desire for the trivial and superficial over the meaningful and spiritual, the global domination of American pop culture, how the mass media controls the world, etc. However, none of these are really fleshed out in the film, but rather touched on briefly then tossed away in favor of the next idea.

Though the film is more style over substance, it is still thoroughly enjoyable for anyone who loves the cinema in all its forms.


22 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?