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Short Film Premiere: Francesca Coppola’s Jonny Come Lately

“What can be said of a connection that seems to border on captivity? Where does the line between violence & intimacy exist?”

That’s how Francesca Coppola introduces her sophomore short film, Jonny Come Lately, further described as focusing on “a fragile, complicated, volatile union between two lovers.” The film features Deragh Campbell, Kentucker Audley and Evan Louison, it was shot on 16mm, and it premieres online today via Filmmaker and courtesy of 1985.

Last year, Coppola wrote about her film on the occasion of its Kickstarter launch. Here, she describes what the film means to her and, hopefully, for you:

I don’t know what this film will be about for you when you watch it, but I can tell you what is about for me. Jonny, the main character in the film (played by the incredible Deragh Campbell) is a young woman who is trapped in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend Sam (played by Kentucker Audley). Some of you, our audience, have had similar experiences. But for those of you who haven’t, it is a struggle of the most isolating, alienating nature, one of the most troubling challenges that a person can endure. It disrupts one’s social, physical and emotional life to the point of altering it in ways that can be irreparable, until it has become unrecognizable even to ourselves. The challenges at times seem insurmountable, as if to defy our concepts of what resilience we are actually capable of. This film is about how it feels to be in that place, stuck. In a relationship like that, stuck. It’s about these two people, Jonny and Sam, a girl and a guy who despite their affection for each other, can’t be together, aren’t meant to be now or ever again. Most of all it’s a film about being alone in circumstances that are so difficult to articulate anything about or to talk over, even with your closest friends and family. It’s about the expectations others have, and those we have for ourselves, about being functional in our everyday life, especially at the times we feel incapable of just that. It’s about one of those moments when we just don’t know how to exist in the world. Jonny Come Lately is an effort to understand a traumatic experience and a moment of growth.

Coppola is a member of Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective, and her previous film, Flamingos, was an official selection for New Directors/New Films in 2013.

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