Known as much for his playboy ways and extravagant ‘80’s hair as his music, singer-songwriter Jonny Cedar had been living off his considerable royalties for many years. Fully immersed in the rock and roll lifestyle (and often admired for it), Jonny had become increasingly disillusioned with his hedonism and its noticeably diminishing pleasures. Longing to get back in the studio, but battling addictions that hindered his creativity and damaged his physical and mental health, Jonny is jolted by the news that he has terminal cancer and less than a year to live. Resolving to spend his final months in recording what he hopes will be his magnus opus – Jonny gives permission to a documentary team to make a short film about him and what he knows will be his final album. Battling ailing health, but supported through the process by old flame and musical collaborator - Kitty Vox, Jonny reflects candidly and critically about the highs and lows of his life and career and the reality of living the rock and roll dream. ‘Jonny Cedar – Smoke on the Wind’ is a moving, thought-provoking and gently comic exploration of materialism, masculinity and mortality filmed in a mock rock doc style.
The film has been inspired the biblical book of Ecclesiastes. You very much get the impression that Ecclesiastes was written by someone who knows they are towards the end of their life and reflecting back upon it. This partly, influenced the decision to give Jonny a terminal illness and of course mortality and the brevity of life is a consistent theme in the book. Although I don’t see Jonny as being quite as cynical, disillusioned or world-weary as the author of Ecclesiastes, there are definitely elements of that in his character and in his assessment of life. Jonny also has the ‘seen it all’, ‘done it all’, ‘had it all’ aspect to his life that is shared by ‘the preacher’, who is often believed to be Solomon, or at least based on Solomon. Although not a character in the book of Ecclesiastes, I wanted the character of Kitty to in some way reflect the Queen of Sheba, a woman that Solomon genuinely seemed to respect and admire as ‘an equal’, in contrast perhaps, to his famously large harem. I also wonder if there is some regret over this and that this reflects Jonny and his feelings for Kitty. (Ecc: 9:9).