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The Saddest Music in the World


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#1 Ian Marks

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 07:35 PM

I came across a screener copy of this film on DVD and, knowing it was in B/W, and incorporated some off-beat "retro" style, looked forward to seeing it. Now, I understand that the film is supposed to be highly stylized and idiosyncratic, but I found that the cinematography made it just about unwatchable. Anyone else care to comment?
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#2 Bryan Darling

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 08:25 PM

Guy Maddin is to me one of the most interesting filmmaker's alive today. His use of technique and film language is very stylized but measured and thought out. I think his work is very effective. However, The Saddest Music in the World is not my favorite. I recommend Archangel and Pages from A Virgin's Diary. For me his films are refreshing from the mainstream standard fair of formulaic narrative structured movies. I would call his work more along the line of a film rather than a movie. I also recommend his short, The Heart of The World.
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#3 Jason Maeda

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 07:51 AM

ian,

i agree with you. i have always been let down buy his films, which to me succeed only in somehow managing to feel heavy-handed while at the same time having almost no meaningful content. interesting side note: my ex was an actor in one of his films which forced me to sit through an excruciating seiries of shorts.

jk :ph34r:
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#4 santo

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 06:37 PM

The problems with Guy Maddin's work is straight forward and he'll likely never address them so that he can graduate to making good films.

First, he doesn't understand that audiences are whom you make films for. You do not make films for yourself, though you should like what you make. Audiences are not impressed with a filmmaker who keeps shoving it in their face how "clever" they are. This is what Madden does all the time. "Look how clever I am, re-using this old 20's special effect technique" or "look how clever I am smeering the lens with vaseline!". This is used endlessly in his films, pounded home mercilessly until you want to finger the screen. And to pile more nonsense onto it, he also steals all the silent film story-telling techniques, which weren't very good, and that's why they were abandoned, and then again throws it in your face -- "look how clever I am...nobody else is using this poop anymore."

Second, he doesn't understand what a script is. He writes these things with his collaborator Tolles or whatever that guy's name is, and the "script", such as it is, ends up being a big confusing mess without any driving force to it. Who cares what happens to any of the characters in a Madden film? Who knows what's going on? They're too interested in throwing in their incest sub-plots and smearing vaseline on the lens and trying to move onto the next "cool poop" shot that's just a rip-off of some 20's silent film they saw.

Honestly, I saw SADDEST in the theatre and found it the only Maddin "feature" I could sit through. It wasn't very good, but there is no way in hell I could sit through stuff like TWILIGHT OF THE ICE NYMPHS and the rest. Although I would recommend people watch ARCHANGEL and CAREFUL on DVD with the plan to watch them in 10 minute bits. You'll actually enjoy them that way. I'm serious, they improve greatly with only piece by piece viewing because trying to sit through these things as a whole is a grueling nightmare -- and you'll turn it off and never see some of the good stuff that comes in bits.

To give him credit, Maddin makes pretty good shorts, in my opinion. When watched one at a time. HEART OF THE WORLD mentioned above is one of best shorts I've ever seen. It really is pretty great. He should be restricted to shorts in the future. That's what he's good at. Forget about this guy doing features. He sucks at that. This has been proven again and again without conjecture or question. Audiences hate his features and he is a failure at doing them. Stick to what he can do, please. Save us Canadian tax-payers millions that way.
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#5 Bryan Darling

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 07:33 PM

I think this thread really goes to show you how great it is to have a forum where everyone can put forth their opinions of film and life.

:rolleyes:
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#6 santo

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 09:21 PM

I think this thread really goes to show you how great it is to have a forum where everyone can put forth their opinions of film and life.

:rolleyes:


We're talking about Guy Maddin's feature films and their shortcomings. A lot of it the result of sophmoric silent movie knock-off cinematography which does nothing but call attention to itself and adds to the other problems which make his films uninvolving and unwatchable for a feature-length single sitting by probably 99% of viewers.

If you've got an opinion on life that ties in to that discussion, let's hear it.
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#7 Ian Marks

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 12:27 PM

Santo, I pretty much felt the way you did about "The Saddest Music." The "techniques," if they could even be called that, were so heavy handed and self-indulgent that I lost all interest in following the story. I think the silent-era look might have been interesting if only used in a few shots, or maybe in a brief sequence, but in any case only in service to the story. But like you said, it was all about "hey, look at me, I'm sooo clever!"
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Tai Audio

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Visual Products