Pursuit of Loneliness

Director: Laurence Thrush
Screenwriters: Laurence Thrush

Institute History


After an elderly hospital patient dies, a nurse tries unsuccessfully to contact the next of kin. Later, a social worker continues the effort but finds only the neighbor who was feeding the patient’s dogs. A county investigator fails to locate any relatives and ultimately must process the belongings in the decedent’s home. Meanwhile, we follow a frail man’s discharge from the hospital and an older woman’s day spent running errands and trying to stay cool during a heat wave.

Laurence Thrush’s wistful Pursuit of Loneliness underplays conventional dramatic elements in favor of heightened aestheticism—gorgeous, fixed-frame, black-and-white compositions; a disquieting score by experimental media composer William Basinski; and a cast of nonprofessional actors. Thrush’s precise vision, with its detached, observational quality, passes fluidly among the characters and emphasizes routine, bureaucracy, and a sense of anonymity. With a heartbreaking awareness of impermanence, we watch the artifacts of a life—pets, belongings, memories—reduced to paperwork. We also find ourselves aware of the one thing that appears nowhere in the film—family.

— John Nein

Screening Details

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