Directed by Guy Maddin, starring Isabella Rossellini, Mark McKinney, Maria de Medeiros, Ross McMillan and David Fox.

Winnipeg, 1933. Double-amputee beer magnate Lady Port-Huntley (Rossellini) organises a competition to find the saddest music in the world, with musicians flocking to a city which has been proclaimed by the London Times as "the worldwide capital of sorrow". And among them is a family whose members are all representing different countries. Father and war veteran Fyodor (Fox) is representing Canada; hustler son Chester (McKinney) and his girlfriend Narcissa (de Medeiros) have pledged their allegiances south of the border and troubled son Roderick (McMillan) has come with cello from his adopted country of Serbia. And with the family split apart, and two of the men sharing a history with Port-Huntley, there'll be plenty of drama onstage and off.

If the plot sounds wacky, it's got nothing on the visuals. Using grainy black and white film and tacky back projections, prolific cult director Maddin has created a film that feels like a collision between the worlds of David Lynch and Mr Chomondley-Warner from 'Harry Enfield and Chums'. It's ingenious, camp and brilliantly sends up the ham of early movie performances. It's also a film that could have said all it wanted as a short, without dragging the story out to 100 minutes. Chances are that those who haven't bolted for the door after the first 15 minutes will love it; others could be driven to drink. Lady Port-Huntley would indeed be pleased.

Harry Guerin