In Lost In New York, two young girls discover a small wooden idol which possess the magical powers of the African Moon Goddess. This 'power' enables them to travel through time and space. Reality, and the world of cinema and literature become one, as the girls delve deep into the stories they only once dreamed of. In New York, the city that the two girls travelled to, they meet as young women before meeting again years later in France as elderly women in what is a genuinely poetic and personal Rollin film.
Spoilers follow ...
- Lost in New York review by NP
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Barefoot and wearing nothing but a raincoat, a woman strides across a deserted rail track. In the sunny streets of France, an elderly woman makes her way through the streets and alleyways. The chalky cliffs next to a rain-lashed beach are seen next. What can it mean? As the credits usher in this 1989 film by French Director Jean Rollin, already interest is piqued.
I’m not sure this is actually a horror film (at 52 minutes and made-for-television, I'm not even sure if it 'officially' a film). It is difficult to define Rollin’s work – but with only a couple more of his productions to include, I’m going to let the fact that a vampire features briefly here on a New York skyline count it – roughly – as a horror. Also, the image of one or two young women standing by a cold looking seafront wearing featureless theatre masks, is one of the best known of Rollin’s visuals. It is sinister, fascinating, sombre and strange – just like his pictures, in fact. The masks are everywhere; the woman in raincoat is wearing one, the two lead ‘charming young’ girls (Marie and Michelle) are wearing them on Rollin’s Beach. And then – pop! They are separated and running down the streets of New York, narrowly missing each other, and often accompanied by some tinny 1980’s music, which is very of its time. This is a travelogue, shot over a few days, book-ended by scenes of two elderly ladies (aged versions of the two girls in NY) at last finding each other once again.
There isn’t a huge amount to get engaged with throughout, but Rollin’s talent for poetic imagery on no budget (night-time neon adverts, scenes shot through the haze of steam rising from the street, a red rose on a rain-dulled pavilion) is evident throughout. The film was shot spontaneously, with just Rollin and two actresses in The Big Apple. The overall theme - that of searching for something - is a typical dreamlike scenario. The woman in the raincoat emerges as a moon-goddess, whose naked dance probably influences the climactic reuniting of the two leads.