Monday, March 23, 2009

Fall into your feet. Mister Lonely.

by Ryland Walker Knight

first flight
push back the wind

An accident proves faith, as ever, when a nun falls free from a plane. However, her mad and rushing drop is called flying upon her unscathed return to earth. Roughly a third of Mister Lonely is a contrapuntal narrative about nuns in South America, a number of whom fly-fall back to earth as a test of (or, more apt, a testament to) their God. Their end is no surprise—nor is it a surprise that it ends the film—but its wash and lull fits the pull of the world that this odd, beautiful film so desperately tries to find purchase with and portray, expose, rend, render. Flight, for humans, we must remember, is terminal. We find our feet one way or another. Korine seems to say something beyond "Know your role" here. He seems to say, "Find it," first and then, "Keep playing," so long as (1) you can and (2) you find comfort in it. His ideal theatre is one shorn of masks. The arena he advocates has us happy with our capacities, without sacrificing the dream (to say moral plight) of perfectionism. All trajectories point down, down, down, just as Werner says in the plane: down to earth, into your world, into this life. The tragedy, such as it is, comes when we find we cannot find any productive joy as we tumble around town, or bounding outside.

pull it up, out
—pull it up, out
—push back the wind
—see waves scorch us
grateful and alone

wink without you
look for them


see waves scorch us
—grateful for the quartet falling, flooded
with light and sought in a wink
—direct your own spotlights


  1. I like this movie a lot. I peeped it at the 2008 Independent Film Fest Boston. After the film there was a fun, bizarre Q&A with Harmony Korine that was probably one of the more interesting thirty minutes of my past year or so.

  2. i recall being super dissapointed when this came out. I think the movie works better as single scenes than any kind of narrative. i think it shoulda been a 1.33 ratio though. looks weird in scope like that.

  3. Hugo. I agree that the film is not that, um, cohesive. However, I think its tendency to stray is just what makes it better than just a bunch of scenes. It's definitely a picture of "concepts" but I think it washes out pretty well; the leaps are timed just right. And Werner lends a nice gravel pitch to the lightness all around.


    And then she falls. I mean, maybe I just like those scenes and I excuse the rest. But, really, I think there's real love in this movie. And that matters.