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.
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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
Don't be scared away by people who warn that this movie is too difficult or bizarre. This film will appeal to more than just the usual cabal of obscurantists and nerdy cultists. The plot is quite straightforward: a depression-era beer baroness commissions a contest whose aim it is to find the saddest music in the world. As a result, scores of zany musicians from around the world descend on frost-bitten Winnipeg to win a $25000 prize. Hilarity ensues.
That's not to say the movie doesn't have its fair share of the absurd, the bizarre, and the dark (it *is* a Canadian film, after all). Lines are delivered with strange inflections, characters' motivations are screwy, filmic styles are mixed. None of these, however, comes off as pretentious or forced.
The film explores the interesting paradox that despite the reality and ubiquity of real sadness, authentic expressions of sadness are difficult and rare.
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