Director Lawrence Johnston’s Neon is a candy-coloured journey through the American dream, exploring how the simple product known as neon shone bright as a beacon for the hopes of a country. As in his prior documentaries, Fallout (about Nevil Shute’s On The Beach), Night, Once A Queen, and Eternity, Johnston creates visually resplendent films – cinematic poems that fly in the face of what documentary cinema typically is.
Neon begins in Paris in the 1920s and moves across the Atlantic to America which went totally crazy for the light as it spread across the “neon hot spots” of the US: New York, Los Angeles and especially Las Vegas, the “Neon Capital of the World”, and now home to the famous “Neon Boneyard.”
Johnston has collected a dazzlingly giddy group of neon geeks for the film. There are people who have opened museums to classic neon as well as modern electric neon art. There are people who tell stories of growing up in Las Vegas around the warming buzz of neon signs, and being too distraught to watch them being torn down with the advancing of time. These people who have made neon their life give the film an urgency and a necessity in this ever-changing world.
It’s also a movie for film-lovers as it looks at how neon has played its part in cinema from Murder My Sweet to Psycho. Neon is a movie not only for those of us who hold a glowing love for Americana, mid-20th Century design, and saving the world around us, but who also enjoy surprising emotional and unexpected historic jaunts along the way. It is a delightful spectacle of colour and light, music and history, design and cultural heritage.
FilmInk Presents a special Q&A event of Neon, with the film’s director, Lawrence Johnston, and composer, Antony Partos, in attendance to chat after the film.
WHERE & WHEN:
Monday June 6, 6:30pm, The Ritz Cinema, Randwick, Sydney