Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

7/18/2005

Rubber Johnny


Still from "Rubber Johnny"

I'm not sure if you all have heard of this or seen it, but I just ran across the short video piece called "Rubber Johnny" by Chris Cunningham, who is most well known for directing music videos for Aphex Twin, Bjork, and many other artists. The Wikipedia entry for "Rubber Johnny":
The film showcases a young child called Johnny (played by Cunningham). Johnny is an isolated mutant child in a wheelchair with a huge overgrown cranium, locked in a basement. Capable of morphing his body, he spends his life trying to amuse himself and his dog, a terrified chihuahua.

The film starts out with a doctor trying to communicate with Johnny. Johnny seems rather unfocused, and answers "no" to every question. Then he starts repeating something which sounds like "mama", to which the doctor asks whether he wants to see his mother. Johnny becomes nervous and violent and the doctor has to calm him down with a sedative injection.

From this moment the actual music video starts to begin. After the introduction of a blinking neon light, a rat climbing over a text decal saying "WARP FILMS [...] PRESENT" and a condom saying "Rubber Johnny" (which is the british slang for it) being inflated and then popped, we see the dog eating food from his dish and starting to watch the kid lying in his wheelchair with his huge head hanging out. As soon as the music kicks in, the Johnny starts to "dance" in his wheelchair, acting and morphing to the extremely unorganized beat of the music, spectated by the seemingly discomforted dog. At one scene he appears to snort up a line of a cocaine-like substance. The video is interrupted twice by someone (presumably the father of Johnny) opening the basement door and throwing various insults at Johnny, although during both interruptions, he is rather calm, at the second time he's lying almost lifeless in his wheelchair, just like he did at the beginning. The second part of the video has scenes of Johnny pressing his face raipdly against something what seems to be a glass wall, resulting in various disgusting images as his head seems to splatter on every contact.

The film was shot entirely in infrared night vision on digital video.
The film caused some controversy, and its release was apparently delayed because the printers refused to print it:
Because the Italian printers employed by Warp Films have deemed Rubber Johnny too offensive, we've had to put our release date back from the 23rd May 2005 to 20th June 2005 in the UK and in Europe.

The printers protested that the artwork was too indecent to subject their workers to seeing it at the mill, and they have flatly refused to print it on moral grounds.
That's probably overstating things a bit, but there are some disturbing images, to be sure. At least, I found them disturbing.









There's also, however, a cute dog in it.



You can watch "Rubber Johnny" here.

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