Series consists of scripts, correspondence, production notes, original film and audio elements, promotional material and props from the 2003 film “The Saddest Music in the World”. Directed by Guy Maddin, The Saddest Music in the World was co-written by Guy Maddin and George Toles based on the original screenplay by Kazuo Ishiguro. Maddin adapted the screenplay to suit his early twentieth century film aesthetic of grainy black and white photography and slightly out-of-sync sound. The film features a number of film formats and techniques, with black and white 16 and 8mm original film negatives and some colour film imitating early Technicolor.
Described by some critics as a ‘sort-of’ musical, the film is set in Depression-era Winnipeg, with beer baroness, Lady Port-Huntly (Isabella Rossellini) hosting a competition to determine the saddest music in the world (in hopes of increasing her profits). With the tagline “If you’re sad, and like beer, I’m your lady”, the film centers on the men of the Kent family who confront the secrets of their past while locked in the competition for the prize of $25,000.Younger brother Chester (Mark McKinney), the cynical and failed Broadway producer, is ready to mesmerize his former lover with American bravado, assisted by his nymphomaniac amnesic muse, Narcissa (Maria de Medeiros). Older brother Roderick (Ross McMillan), a cellist returning from post-war Serbia, is inconsolable over the disappearance of his beloved wife. Their despairing but patriotic father Fyodor (David Fox) is tormented with guilt over the accidental amputation of the legs of his one true love, Lady Port-Huntly.
Co-produced by Rhombus and Buffalo Gal Pictures, the film won the Directors Guild of Canada’s outstanding achievement in production design (Mathew Davies) and the Genies for costume design (Meg McMillan), editing (David Wharnsby) and original musical score (Christopher Dedrick) in 2004. Guy Maddin also received the Film Discovery Jury Award for best director from the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival the same year. Maddin and and Toles received the Chlotrudis Award for best adapted screenplay in 2005.