Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Lonesome 1928

Live Cinema with Lawrence Arabia and Carnivorous Plant Society

Directed by Paul Fejos

Coney Island 1928 is brought to teeming life with the World Premiere performance of a new score by Lawrence Arabia and Carnivorous Plant Society.

USA In English
69 minutes B&W / Blu-ray



Carl Laemmle Jr


Mann Page
Edward T. Lowe Jr


Gilbert Warrenton


Frank Atkinson


Lawrence Arabia and Carnivorous Plant Society


Barbara Kent (Mary)
Glenn Tryon (Jim)
Fay Holderness (overdressed woman on roller coaster)
Gustav Partos (romantic gentleman on roller coaster)
Eddie Phillips (sportive gentleman on bus)
Andy Devine (Jim’s friend)

Restoration by

George Eastman House


Presented in association with


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