Last week, Lana Del Rey attended the short film première of “Hi, How Are You?” – a film that stars Daniel Johnston, a talented artist and musician who has been diagnoed wtih bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and looks inside his head.
Lana recorded a beautiful rendition of Johnston’s song ‘Some Things Last A Long Time‘ for the film, which can be heard in full here:
Click here to hear the original version by Johnston.
Billboard.com covered the event, giving some insight into the film with some comments from Lana herself.
The 15-minute film premièred in Los Angeles at the MAMA Gallery and featured many of Johnston’s original paintings and early drawings from Seventies and Eighties. Johnston’s living room is a key element to Hi, How Are you Daniel Johnston?, as the film intends to bring the audience inside the artist’s schizophrenic head with that location acting as a cage-like home for his creative processes.
The 15-minute film played on repeat through the night in a backroom, projected onto two walls split by a corner in an immersive and experimental form — live action sequences played out on the wall to the left while animated sequences filled out the right side. In front was a retro tube television playing the same programs from Johnston’s living room in the film, in effect bringing the audience into scene. With dozens filling the room to sit on the floor or stand and watch the film, the surrealism was accentuated by Johnston’s actual presence in the room, further distorting any sense of location.
“It moved me. It was sad. It touched me,” said Del Rey afterwards. “There were so many dimensions in one room, the past, the present at the time and then here he is right there watching himself, I mean I guess the one thing I hoped is that he understood that while he’s home alone doing his art still — he says he writes every day — that he knows that he really did make a difference in people’s lives. He made a difference in mine.”
Del Rey herself is no stranger to brooding creativity, and she said she initially felt a connection with Johnston after watching the 2005 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston. After discovering the 2013 Kickstarter campaign that Sunday launched to finish the project, she said she was drawn to get involved. In the end, that meant contributing a cover of Johnston’s “Some Things Last a Long Time” for the film, which plays over the end credits.
Del Rey explained her own identifying to Johnston’s story as “trying to choose the darkness or the light and sort of participating in the path that you’re going to take, to the limited ability you can.” She added, “I didn’t know if this film would move me just as much, but the fact that it’s a progression, it moves me even deeper.”
The première was also Del Rey and Johnston’s first meeting, which Del Rey said had her turning bright red from nervous excitement. “I guess he was sort of a crush at one time a decade ago,” she said.
Sunday described the two musicians’ meeting as a “total fan moment” on Del Rey’s part, adding, “It was so wonderful and sweet.”
The film is available now at http://www.danieljohnstonfilm.com/.