Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
New Zealand indie pop maestro Lawrence Arabia and collaborators Carnivorous Plant Society bring new life to a long buried treasure from 1920s New York. Unearthed in the 80s, and as kinetic as the metropolis itself, Lonesome is the creation of the little-known but remarkable Hungarian émigré Paul Fejos. Lonesome is a lavish city symphony, set amidst the mania of Coney Island during the Fourth of July holiday. Two shy and lonely young city folk meet, fall for each other, then get separated in the course of a frantic afternoon.
Fejos makes dazzling use of every technique the movie medium could offer – colour tinting, superimpositions, experimental editing, and a roving – even roller-coasting – camera. Three crude dialogue scenes, belatedly added to satisfy the new craze for talkies, only show how sophisticated the visual medium had become before spoken word entered the picture. There was always sound at the silent movies though, in the form of live music, and we’ve asked a great, one-of-a-kind band to mix it up with this great, one-of-a-kind movie.
“It was a beautiful surprise to get the invite to participate in this year’s festival. It’s going to be a magnificent challenge to try and translate the modernist rhythms of early 20th-century New York into something original that vibrates with the same energy. It’s also a fine excuse to get to work with some different collaborators in the form of Carnivorous Plant Society, an indefinable ensemble of extremely talented multi-instrumentalists whose music is inherently filmic. I intend to exploit that trait to its full extent!” — James Milne aka Lawrence Arabia