“all I ever cared about, what moved me in film and in life, was…people,characters, scenes, moments…I never cared about ‘the answer.’ I’d rather just hear the joke, I don’t care about the punchline. I think it’s nice to leave a margin of the undefined“- Harmony Korine
Last night I watched Harmony Korine’s newest film ‘Mister Lonely.’ I was impressed. I had been a big fan of ‘Gummo,’ not so much of ‘Julien Donkey Boy,’ but honestly counted Korine as an amphetamine casualty, mildly schizophrenic and frankly finished. I appreciated his forgoing the cliche narrative, for his arresting visual sense; I honestly considered ‘Gummo’ to be one of the more original American films I had ever seen, but I didn’t think he could sustain that kind of career. But as often is the case, I was totally wrong. Watching “Mister Lonely’ I was mesmerized by the script (written by Avi Korine) and characters, as well as the gradual, originally composed, and brilliantly colorful cinematography.
The movie goes something like this: a Michael Jackson impersonator is hard up in Paris. He’s a sweetly innocent guy, a dreamer. He is working at a nursing home, dancing for deranged geezers. He meets a Marilyn Monroe impersonator there, they share a glass of wine, they walk through a Parisian park of large, evenly spaced trees. She tells him of a commune in the Scottish highlands filled with impersonators, from Sammy Davis Jr to the Pope. He is too shy. Somehow he goes. It’s never-never land. Buckwheat rides a pony talking about how much he loves chicken. Reality sets in, things become undermined, Charlie Chaplin might be a fascist, the sheep are sick, somebody is in a tree. Micheal figures something out.
At the same time a group of nuns in Panama learn how to fly.
Like any worthwhile art the film evades being categorized. It leaves the viewer pondering identity, escapism, dreams and reality, it doesn’t beat in the point, the theme is evasive; as the narrator in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness surmises, the meaning was ‘not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze.” After the film was over I had this hopeful pang, now that he has matured maybe Korine will stick around for a while.