“The Lost Weekend: A Love Story” plays at the M.V. Film Center on Thursday, April 20. John Lennon is the center of this documentary, as told by May Pang, his lover and companion for 18 months from 1973 to 1975.
The film begins with Pang’s childhood in Spanish Harlem, where she lived with her Chinese-American Buddhist mother, who ran the OK Laundry, and her atheist father. Later she attended a Catholic school. Pang describes how she hated college and dropped out at 19, moving to midtown Manhattan.
At this point, John Lennon enters the film with his second marriage in 1971 to Yoko Ono. At 19 years old, Pang asked for a job at Beatles-founded Apple Records, and ended up acquiring a position as a personal assistant for the Lennons. She managed to catch a fly in a Chinese restaurant for the avant-garde Lennon film called “Fly.” It was the dead of winter, and flies were not readily available, which impressed the Lennons. This was the beginning of the couple’s relationship with Pang, who went to England with them and was promoted to their full-time assistant.
Back in New York and as Lennon’s full-time assistant, Pang began to participate in their activist activities, like appearing as a bag on the Dick Cavett Show to make a statement about prejudice. Pang reports that Lennon’s political activism led to the accusation by President Nixon of Lennon of being an enemy of the people.
Pang describes Lennon’s alienation of his wife Yoko Ono, which led her to promote the relationship between Pang and Lennon. It was a period when Lennon was neglecting his son Julian, whose phone calls were rejected by Pang under Lennon’s bidding. This was also the period when Lennon reunited with Paul McCartney.
By now, Yoko had encouraged a relationship between Lennon and Pang. It grew into a love affair that lasted for 18 months. With Pang’s narration, “The Lost Weekend” describes in detail how Lennon and Pang’s affair progressed, as well as Lennon’s many activities. including a period of binge drinking. Ono continued to pressure Pang to keep up her affair with Lennon, which Pang did, along with her friendship with Cynthia, Lennon’s former wife, and their son Julian. “I think May made [the environment] a lot easier for me as a young kid,” the film quotes Julian as saying.
A partial end to their relationship came next, when Lennon returned to living with Yoko. The film reports how Pang stayed in touch with Lennon until his 1980 murder at the Dakota Apartments in New York. “The Lost Weekend,” as Lennon termed his affair with Pang, is an important addition to information about Lennon’s life.
Information and tickets to “The Lost Weekend: A Love Affair,” are available through mvfilmsociety.com.