News / Film

Johnny Hardstaff’s “feminist revenge short” debunks myths on masculinity and cars

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Johnny Hardstaff has created an extended music video featuring three tracks from Motel Music Part II by Parisian DJ turned producer Jimmy Whoo. The beautifully shot short film tells the story of a cigarette-toting young man (played by Theo Cholbi) whose twisted joy-ride in an abandoned car ultimately ends in disaster.

The video was a direct response to Whoo’s music – “dark, moody, cinematic,” and is described by Hardstaff as a “feminist revenge short.” Although Motel Music Part II had to have a car at its core, Hardstaff wanted to turn the narrative you might expect from something entitled Motel Music on its head. Hardstaff takes aim at films like Drive, by Nicolas Winding Refn, which offer a macho exploration of men and car culture perpetuating the myth that a man’s “sweet ride is a pussy wagon” — in Danny Zuco’s words – not ours. In this case, this culture is picked apart when the acquisition of the car has the opposite of its desired effect.

Having been introduced to Jimmy Whoo’s music by Hexagone (the company who produced the short), Hardstaff fell in love and decided to push an extended format for the music video that “felt truer to the music”, including three songs. Hardstaff has previously created similar work for Radiohead in the form of a two-track promo for Like Spinning Plates.

The cinematic, highly-dramatised video features a deliberate sense of unease and impending doom in order to reflect the fact that there are real men like Theo’s character out there. However there is a sly humour that comes through in the surreal closing scene that sees the young man engulfed and sabotaged by his own car. Hardstaff spoke to us about how, having not made a music video for 15 years, he now wants to make them all the time. “I’m so hooked. So rather than make a music video every fifteen years, I’d like to make one every fifteen weeks. I feel a grime video coming on maybe. A funny, feminist, WTF grime video.”

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Via Johnny Hardstaff’s Website (still)

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Via Johnny Hardstaff’s Website (still)

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Via Johnny Hardstaff’s Website (still)

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Via Johnny Hardstaff’s Website (still)

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Via Johnny Hardstaff’s Website (still)

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Via Johnny Hardstaff’s Website (still)

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Via Johnny Hardstaff’s Website (still)

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Via Johnny Hardstaff’s Website (still)