Johnny Thunders as “Johnny Valentine.”
Mona et Moi directed by Patrick Grandperret in 1989 is mainly notable for Johnny Thunders’ performance as a character—clearly based on himself—named “Johnny Valentine.” The film’s storyline is bare bones: Valentine flies to Paris to headline a concert organized by some low-level rock promoters/fans who are in Valentines’ thrall. Nothing much happens but Thunders is given plenty of screen time and actually does a pretty good job of acting. But given that his character is described as “a beautiful loser, a junkie, busted but unbowed,” there’s not exactly a shitload of acting required of him.
There are some brief scenes with Heartbreakers Billy Rath and Jerry Nolan and some live performances of Heartbreaker tunes including “Born To Lose.” In addition to rock and roll, there’s a smattering of sex, drugs, existential angst and Thunders appearing now and then to keep things interesting.
Denis Lavant, the lead actor in Mona et Moi, should be recognizable to anyone who’s paid attention to French films of the past three decades, having starred in films by Leos Carax, Clair Denis and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. He doesn’t have much to do in Mona et Moi except to look forlorn while Thunders/Valentine steals his girlfriend Mona, the dramatic highlight of the film.
France has always been friendly turf for American rockers who struggled to make it back in America, including Thunders, Stiv Bators and Willy DeVille. Perhaps they were seen as later day Rimbauds and Artauds—Genet Vincents—vulnerable bad boys in black leather.
Video after the jump…