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My Open Heart

Critic:

Julian Gaskell

|

Posted on:

14 Jun 2022

Film Reviews
My Open Heart
Directed by:
Steven A. Johnson
Written by:
Cedar Rose Johnson, Steven A. Johnson, Julian Marc Stringle,
Starring:
Cedar Rose Johnson, Carmelo Viviani
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As a folk pop singer, Cedar Rose Johnson has recently written some songs for a BFI accredited feature film. Developing her style with a range of material, she is not totally unlike K T Tunstall in both sound and appearance, someone she has actually met on a zoom call – although she doesn’t like to mention it. Collaborators on this song My Open Heart are composer Rob Clydesdale and fellow song writers Steven A. Johnson and musician Julian Marc Stringle.

 

The video to this summer love song shows a young couple’s summer affair frolicking in the countryside with happy home movie memories of them having fun in the sunshine. We see them walking, picnicking and punting along the river to the nostalgic melody of My Open Heart. The sweet images of a couple's young love eventually turn to sadness at the end of their love affair as the loving gazes turn to blank stares across the table. As the happy faces change to tears there are some alarming signs of domestic violence making for a complete turnaround in mood as the sweet melancholic lyrics chime away in the foreground.

 

Directed by Steven A. Johnson the music video was shot in a day in a friend's backyard mostly using a POV style camcorder / home video effect (or whatever today’s mobile phone equivalent would be), with a slightly over exposed summer sunshine retro look. These amateurish looking home video shots of the couple having fun in the countryside are mixed with some more cinematic ones, which differentiate between the contrasting moments from the carefree summer joy to the more sombre expressions in the end.

 

The music video is a good example of what can be done in a short time and on a low budget. The one location is able to provide multiple shots on a grand scale, combined with a few props like a picnic basket, a small lake boat and a few wardrobe changes; it all makes for a romantic love affair. Cedar Rose Johnson herself plays the girl wearing the summer dresses playing to the camera with a natural charm and she also manages a dramatic transformation in emotions as the tears flow in the shower. The handheld POV shots are by far and away the best part of the video put together by cinematographer Joe Acraman, whilst the switch in the story’s narration comes quite unexpectedly without skipping a beat.

 

It's a sweet summer love song even if the video's turn of events do come as a bit of a shocker adding great drama to the song which continues to play on in the same vein regardless. It’s a self-titled ‘low budget, no budget’ production, which could easily make a summer hit given a little more time.

About the Film Critic
Julian Gaskell
Julian Gaskell
Music Video