“The Strange Thing about the Johnsons“
The Strange Thing About the Johnsons, a disturbing short movie by film maker Ari Aster that deals with incest, sexual abuse, and family secrets.
A few words or thoughts that came to mind when I finished viewing the short film were; oh shit, wow, interesting, thought provoking, unbelievable, sad…then I thought as crazy as this is…somewhere in the world this is happening right now.
The film unfolds a twisted tale of son Issiah, his relationship with his father Sydney and Joan…the mother who turns a blind eye. Ari Aster recently did an interview with African American film blog site Shadow and Act to explain the concepts and evolution of the film. An excerpt is below…
_Question: One of the main critiques many of you had stemmed from the choice to depict such disturbing events with a Black cast. Many of you wondered if the director chose to use Black actors for shock value, but according to Aster, the actors’ color had little to do with the film’s theme.
Answer: “Again, the color of the family isn’t important. We certainly assumed that casting black actors in a film that tackles such transgressive themes would create something of a stir, and it would be a lie to say that we weren’t hesitant, especially as many people were advising us against the decision” Aster explained. “But the longer the dialogue continued about whether it was okay to cast the way we wanted to (without making a discernible statement on race), the more exciting that argument became. There is no intended commentary on the black experience and I would never claim to have any insight into that.”
You can read the full interview here. The entire movie is below…