The Secret Art of Human Flight Image

The Secret Art of Human Flight

By Benjamin Franz | July 8, 2024

In cinema, the holy, the mystical, and the metaphysical are often framed as a private journey for the protagonist. Likely, this is due to the intimate focus made possible by shooting film/video. Therefore, it follows the smaller and more intimate the spirit quest, the more profound. Such is the scenario that envelopes us, the spectators in The Secret Art of Human Flight. A hero’s journey for one into deep metaphysics, this is the latest film from Indie darling H.P. Mendoza.

Working off a screenplay penned by Jesse Orenshein, Mendoza seeks to introduce us to Ben Grady (Grant Rosenmeyer). Ben is having a most tragic year, his wife having recently passed from anaphylaxis, otherwise known as an allergic reaction, which denies you the ability to breathe. Ben has become deeply morose and languid with the passing of his beloved Sarah (Reina Hardesty). The story of their relationship will unfold in a series of videos. While what we see transpire is a bit rocky from an interpersonal sense, it’s quite clear those two loved each other deeply.

“…follows the smaller and more intimate the spirit quest, the more profound.”

To complicate matters, Ben’s sister Gloria (Lucy Devito) has taken it upon herself to check up on him daily. This would be intolerable for anyone, were it not for the fact the local constabulary in the form of Detective Reyes (Rosa Arredondo) is eyeing Ben for possible murder. This is generally considered a ‘slam dunk’ in police circles; if a wife dies, it’s likely the husband who’s responsible. That Ben did not, in fact, kill his wife frustrates Reyes, and she doggedly pursues any tenuous leads to possibly lay this death upon Ben Grady. It’s at this point Ben trips over a YouTube clip, which leads to a Reddit post and then, ultimately, a deep website that invites visitors to learn The Secret of Human Flight. A metaphysical secret that requires rigorous physicality, Ben takes the invitation to the private, the secret, the divine from the guru Mealworm (Paul Raci).

The Secret of Human Flight pulls off the difficult feat of centering Ben’s spiritual quest to learn to fly while grounding the story in the investigation of his dear departed wife’s demise. At many points in the second half of the movie, the bona fides of all characters will be challenged. People will wonder whether the events unfolding are even sane or remotely realistic to achieve. That the police will find a way to punish the mystic duo at the center of this film is heartrendingly true to life. It hardly matters to Detective Reyes that Sarah likely died from a self-inflicted and misbegotten accident. No, someone died, there’s tremendous insurance money available, and someone must be held to account.

H.P. Mendoza and his collaborators have created a staggering, poignant, graceful work of genius. Truly, the finished product of The Secret of Human Flight is greater than the sum of its parts. If you need a spirit quest to experience. Seek out The Secret of Human Flight, it will be the single most life affirming story you shall experience this year.

The Secret Art of Human Flight (2024)

Directed: H.P. Mendoza

Written: Jesse Orenshein

Starring: Grant Rosenmeyer, Reina Hardesty, Lucy Devito, Rosa Arredondo, Paul Raci, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

The Secret Art of Human Flight Image

"…a staggering, poignant, graceful work of genius..."

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