Monday, July 19, 2010


Lonesome, 1929
Dir: Paul Fejos

I'm not quite sure if this is a masterpiece, but I dug it so much that I'm just going to say that it is. Think of the make-up "day date" in Sunrise (1927) and you pretty much get the picture of what this is. Short and sweet, full of endearing moments that are able to sink in and breathe, with relatively few inter-titles.

The version that I saw has no talking scenes (a few were added during production just as "talkies" were becoming popular for the original relase) but I think this works because it's a silent. The only strange thing was that it was uploaded by an Argentinian guy who does not have a firm grasp of english, so the inter-titles were a little strange, but like I said, there are relatively few, and most of the time you don't even need them. He also added some modern ambient-electronic music as the soundtrack, which is weird. As it is though, it still blew me away.

The expressionism employed here feels wholly original, not based solely on a hard lighting scheme but more on what is actually being captured in the frame and the frequent images that are super-imposed and faded over one another. Its rejection of mindless, dull work in favor of finding love is nothing new in storytelling and yet Fejos made it work like nothing I've ever seen. Coney Island came alive and the roller coaster ride made me want to drive to Six Flags or something, or maybe someplace where they actually still have those crazy old wooden coasters. Still, it feels like a film that has to hit close to home to really be appreciated, but there are certainly enough lonely people out there that would get a smile because of this. This film alone must make Fejos the most forgotten director ever.

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