THERE ARE FEW WEIRDOS better than a Canadian-film-director weirdo. Americans know David Cronenberg as the most visceral of Canuck oddballs, but what do we know about beloved cult director Guy Maddin? Did you know he's like a knight or something in Manitoba, thanks to his films Archangel, My Winnipeg, and The Forbidden Room? But while Maddin makes strange, whimsical melodramas, he's not so great at setting up interview appointments. (We're still waiting for your call, Guy.) Luckily, you can conduct your own interview with Winnipeg's wizard of wackadoodle when he comes to town for a Q&A and screening of 2003's The Saddest Music in the World, part of the Mississippi Records Music and Film Series at the Hollywood.
2003's The Saddest Music in the World is Maddin's most "commercial" film—a term I use loosely, as his panache for silent film iconography, black-and-white cinematography, Vaseline-smeary lenses, and cardboard scenery are a far cry from a Michael Bay flick. It stars the effervescent Isabella Rossellini as Lady Port-Huntley, beer baroness and possessor of two prosthetic glass legs full of delicious beer. In Winnipeg during the Great Depression, Port-Huntley knows the secret to financial success: Play maudlin music in your bar so people drink more booze. (Portland's also wise to this trick.) So she holds an international contest to find the saddest song in the world, where the winner takes home $25,000 and gets to slide into a ginormous pool of beer.
I had a lot of questions for Maddin, which I now offer to you, for free, to ask at Friday's Q&A: (1) What is the saddest music in the world? It's Canadian, right? Justin Bieber? (2) How many crewmembers slid into the brewski pool? (3) Did you ever call Isabella Rossellini a tall drink of... beer? (4) Does Lady Port-Huntley dye her leg-beer green for St. Paddy's Day? (5) It's like you invented leg growlers for the lady on the go! (Okay, this last one isn't a question.)