It has been said that the two greatest tragedies in life are getting what you want, and not getting what you want: this is a paradox that lies at the heart of Brian McGuire’s 1 World 100 Lonely, a wonderfully heart-breaking film that explores love and human relationships from a fresh perspective.
McGuire portrays a variety of experiences that many of us will be able to empathise with – the realization that someone may not be all that you had hoped, or may be more – that the ones you love have the power to plunge you into or pull you out from the depths of internal turmoil; through two interconnected storylines, we follow five characters as they try to figure out that elusive little thing called love.
Shot entirely on a mobile phone, the action feels natural and spontaneous with a gritty, documentary-like edge; although the frequent, shaky close-ups can be jarring at times, 1 World 100 Lonely is the perfect antidote to the clean-cut, mass produced romantic flicks churned out by mainstream media. The film’s emotional undulations are perfectly underscored by an original soundtrack (free to listen to and download on SoundCloud), courtesy of LA electro mellow punk group Haxsaw & Dugin, of which Brian McGuire is also a member.
Lead actors Robert Murphy, Lara Heller, Farah Moans and Mark E. Fletcher are so relaxed in their roles that the fictitious nature of the film is easily forgotten. The dialogue feels natural and unrehearsed in the best possible sense of the word, understandable yet impressive considered in light of the fact that there was no script.
A particularly noteworthy exchange takes place early on in the film between RexMen (Robert Murphy) and his long distance love interest Nosaneen (Lara Heller). We watch a head on collision as conflicts of interest and cultural differences become increasingly evident; a mesmerising train-wreck, each character tries in vain to express what they had hoped from the other. Metaphorical expression “we’re jumping on a bridge before we get to the river” is interpreted literally as “bungee jumping and a sense of adventure” – “I’m crazy for coming here” is met with “I’m crazy about you too”; Murphy and Heller exemplify the sad reality that the way we see or hear things is often clouded by our own hopes and desires, and that other people are flawed vessels into which we often place fragile and misguided expectations.
The film’s universal appeal lies in its acknowledgement and interpretation of the idea that to love and to be loved is the greatest happiness of existence – ultimately, we are all just lonely hunters looking for a connection to help ease our days away. Whether you are lucky enough to have found your significant other, continue to search, or exist blissfully in singularity (like me!), this film is definitely worth a watch.
1 World 100 Lonely premieres on Monday 28th September at the Raindance Film Festival, available to view again on Friday 2nd October.