"For years I've made a practice of coming onstage with a completely blank mind," Maddin said earlier this year, introducing his newest film, The Saddest Music in the World, to audiences at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.
"Once, early on in my career, I forgot all the verbs in my answers."
Up close, Maddin is just as funny.
Still, Maddin's best magic is reserved for the screen. The Saddest Music in the World, an expressionistic adaptation of a Kazuo Ishiguro's story, tells of Lady Port-Huntly (Isabella Rossellini), the legless owner of a Winnipeg brewery during the Great Depression who stages a contest to determine the saddest music.
Maddin pays homage to Busby Berkeley musicals with The Saddest Music in the World. Yet he makes his homage unique.
"Filmmakers I fetishize really disappoint me," Maddin says, joining his Saddest Music lead, Kids in the Hall alum Mark McKinney, for an interview. "They grow tired of giving interviews and start repeating themselves. I'm no celebrity, but I've noticed that long ago I ran out of the truth and recently, I ran out of lies."