Directed by Guy Maddin • 2003 • Canada
Starring Isabella Rossellini, Mark McKinney, Maria de Medeiros
In 1933, as the Great Depression rages on, legless beer baroness Lady Helen Port-Huntley (Isabella Rossellini) engineers a most unusual publicity stunt: a competition to discover the saddest music in the world. Soon, musicians from all over the globe—including Helen’s former lover, Broadway producer Chester Kent (Mark McKinney), and his nymphomaniac, amnesiac girlfriend Narcissa (Maria de Medeiros)—descend upon Winnipeg in hopes of capturing the $25,000 prize. The first of Isabella Rossellini’s several collaborations with director Guy Maddin is an outré musical melodrama that pushes the aesthetics of early-twentieth-century cinema to new heights of surrealist delirium.