A major highlight of the 2009 New Directors/New Films festival, the longstanding collaboration between The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Harmony and Me takes place in the independent film capital Austin, Texas, where a melancholy young lyricist named Harmony (Justin Rice) refuses to let go of the heartbreak caused by a crushing break-up with his girlfriend. He remains stubbornly unhappy, reducing his story of lost love to a broken-record spiel that he repeats to friends, family, and anyone else who will listen.
Although his depression annoys his tough mom, Harmony's friends, as oddball and eccentric as he, seem largely unaffected by his cultivation of misery.
In addition to Rice, a musician who is also front-man for the band Bishop Allen, the film features Kevin Corrigan as Harmony's sidekick Carlos. Byington's film employs a barebones aesthetic to present a contemporary portrait of a descent towards rock bottom that ultimately resolves in redemption.
Harmony and Me received an Annenberg Fellowship from the Sundance Institute in 2008, and, in addition to New Directors/New Films, was also screened at the 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Festival. Director Byington was recently awarded the Stanley Kubrick Award for 'Bold and Innovative Filmmaking' at the Traverse City Film Festival. -- www.moma.org