ANGEL APPLICANT (
directed by Ken August Meyer
Ken August Meyer suffers from the condition scleroderma, an auto-immune disease that originally manifested itself by the tightening of the skin on his hands and face but soon progressed to attacking his internal organs, notably his lungs. This is the same illness that the artist Paul Klee suffered from and in this inspirational and entertaining doc, Meyer traces a personal pilgrimage through Klee’s art.
The documentary opens with the softly spoken Meyer, face to the camera, tightly framed, narrating the beginning of his story as he intercuts sausages and ice pops formed into finger shapes to explain what happened to hands. This immediately reveals the approach Meyer will employ in this, his debut film. There is no room to be maudlin. Meyer is a witty, self-deprecating host with a poet’s eye for image and metaphor. No wonder that Klee’s mystical and cryptic later works had such a pull on him. It’s a simple film, shot on a presumably low-to-no budget and Meyer creates effective, memorable scenes by means of the intimacy of his words and no little visual flair. At one point a blindfolded Meyer attacks a baby pink piñata shaped like a pair of lungs. By the end of the documentary Meyer’s own lungs will have tried to kill him.
The title of the film comes from one of Klee’s works, one of a series of angels, all twisted lines and contorted physiognomy, that the artist drew frequently towards the end of his life. Meyer’s obsession with Klee’s final body of work becomes a personal religion, the angels his own spiritual support group. It’s an incredibly moving film. Sublime in its simplicity. And now that the SXSW Grand Jury has awarded it the best documentary prize it should find the wide audience it deserves.
Angel Applicant premiered at SXSW.
Angel Applicant website here→
No trailer available as we posted this.