Friday, August 28, 2009
"Johnny Yesno" (director: Peter Care)
This early short film (it's around 20 minutes or so) by director Care (later of videos by Depeche Mode, R.E.M., and director of episodes of "Six Feet Under" and "Red Shoe Diaries", among others, and director of the Jodie Foster film, "The Dangerous Lives Of Altar Boys") is a long-forgotten cult favorite, which hasn't got it's due (though it seems a remake/re-imagining is imminent?). Anyhow, gaining most of it's notoriety through the soundtrack by Cabaret Voltaire, "Johnny Yesno" is a hard-boiled, eerie, and gritty noir film depicting the streetwise Johnny, who gets himself mixed up with some seedy characters -- all in the interest of a lady whom he finds himself mesmerized by upon first sight. The dreamy hallucination sequence is spectacular, with groundbreaking camerawork most certainly appropriated by Darren Aranofsky for his critically-acclaimed films "Pi" and "Requiem For A Dream". And there are hints of David Lynch's surrealism in here as well, perhaps inspiring or inspired by his left-of-center visuals. Care's tough, urban environments are enhanced exponentially here through the prominent use of Cabaret Voltaire's sound environments. This is prime period CabVolt (with Chris Watson still in tow), in their delightfully dirty, urban, post-industrial, proto-funk phase. The soundtrack is still available, and can be found for reasonable prices, but this film has been all but forgotten and hasn't been reissued onto DVD as yet. A few Cabaret Voltaire videos by Care (he was basically their third member and created the group's entire visual persona) are appended to this film (at least in the copy I gleaned from nontraditional sources). A fine work, tough, unsettling, and cerebral. Do some searching and treat yourself to this one!