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Another Portland Blog

Friday, March 05, 2004

 

One last bit of PIFF!

OK, I submitted this review, along with the ones for Twilight Samurai and The Dreamers to Ain't It Cool News. Unsurprisingly, they didn't run it because:

A. 99.76 % of their readership has NO interest in a film festival in a far flung locale like Portland, Oregon.

and...

B. Well, look no further than that line about toddlers and cocaine.

So this review has come trudging back from AICN's Austin headquarters. With no place else to go, it has been given a home here on Blog. The movie reviewed below is called The Saddest Music in the World. If you enjoy Kids in the Hall sketches and hallucinatory imagery, than this is the film for you.

------------

THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD

Move of us have seen at least one episode of The Kids in the Hall. Imagine their most esoteric sketch hept up on too many diet pills and you've got a good idea of what The Saddest Music in the World has to offer. The film is the truncated mutant hell spawn of German surrealism, The Hudsucker Proxy, Moulin Rouge, pitch-black Canadian humor and a rusty, nuclear-powered Tilt-a-Whirl.




The film stars Kids alum Mark McKinney and Maria "I want a pot belly" de Medeiros as lovers on their way to a competition in Ottawa during the Depression. In attempt to make a quick buck before the US rolls back Prohibition Laws, a beer baroness amputee (Isabella Rossellini) decides to hold a sort of musical Olympics to determine which country can offer up the saddest tune for those dark days.

The film manages to incorporate such random details as beer-filled prosthesis made of glass, a human heart in a jar full of tears, a shack full of mannequin parts, ice-skating pallbearers, bagpipers, cannibals, mariachis and set straight out of The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari into a bursting-at-the-seems film that could easily make Baz Luhrmann's head explode. Winners of the competition slide into a tub full of beer as a reward. Stock footage from the '30s fills every nook and cranny of the screen. Long dead extras cheer-on their modern day counterparts.

The sold-out audience at Portland's Guild Theater loved it but I've read other reports of walk-outs at screenings in Toronto. Admittedly, the movie isn't for everyone and could cause coronaries. Some might think of it less of film than a deadly weapon. It should probably come with a Surgeon General’s warning.

All in all, The Saddest Music in the World feels like the fever-dream of a turtle-neck(ed) Berlin toddler that's been strapped to a chair in front of 50 years of Broadway musicals while being intravenously fed a frothy mixture of Hi-C, Pixie Sticks and cocaine. Something like this guaranteed a quick trip to bins of video store's specializing in obscure films. It's a damn shame that few will ever see what I think is easily the best solo film by a Kids grad (yes, A Bug's Life included).

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