'I Thought the World of You' Chronicles the Mystery of Canadian Songwriter Lewis Baloue

Directed by Kurt Walker

Starring Reece Presley, Alex Henderson, John R. Taylor, Kurt Walker, Zachary Williams, Len Osanic

BY Alex HudsonPublished Sep 7, 2023

The less we know about Lewis, the better. A mysterious Canadian songwriter, his 1983 album L'Amour was rescued from a bargain bin and reissued in 2014, briefly turning him into a niche indie star. Its atmospheric, abstract sound was enhanced by the fact that almost nothing was known about the man behind the music: he was referred to by multiple names — Lewis Baloue, Randall Wulff, Randy Duke — and there were stories of him bouncing cheques and skipping town.

The mystery was tarnished slightly by the discovery of a few more Lewis albums, which weren't nearly as good as L'Amour. The man himself was found and he granted a single interview before disappearing back into anonymity.

I Thought the World of You, a short film named after the opening track on L'Amour, tells Lewis's story without making any attempt to fill in the gaps in his biography. The wordless 15-minute short, directed by Kurt Walker, depicts what was originally known about the musician: he does a photoshoot with a model (possibly his girlfriend), hands over a sketchy cheque, records an album, and then his LP is discovered by a crate-digging record collector years later. A modern-day shot of an older Lewis sitting by the ocean, plus a lone photograph of "Randy" after the credits, are the only attempts to show what happened to Lewis after he disappeared.

Lewis is played here by Reece Presley — but, wisely, Walker never shows the actor's face, capturing him only from behind and from a distance. (There are some images of the real Lewis during a photoshoot scene.) There's no dialogue at all, with the film playing out as a semi-abstract collage, giving it an ambience that's very fitting of its subject.

The only exposition, if you can even call it that, comes in the form of title cards, with quotes from 2013 and 2014 about Lewis attributed to people's online screen names, containing speculation about what happened to the musician. It's not clear if the stories they tell are real, fake or simply a joke, and they only add to the confusion.

It's a moody film that perfectly captures its subject's enigma — maybe a bit too perfectly, since I Thought the World of You doesn't really add anything that L'Amour and its accompanying lore didn't already offer. This is purely supplemental to the album, existing as a tribute to the subject without making any attempt to reach new fans or pull back the curtain.

But that's probably for the best, since Walker clearly knows that the most fascinating parts of Lewis's story aren't the things we know, but rather all the things we don't. The truth is inevitably less compelling than the mystery, and I Thought the World of You serves its subject by offering no answers, only vibes.

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