Only You. 1981. USA. Directed by Harald Vogl. Written by Vogl and Bibiena Houwer. With Patti Astor, Eric Mitchell, Diego Cortez, Jim Jarmusch, Gary Indiana, Earl Garett Junior, Raoul Mignuchi, Massimo Audiello, Susan Enslin, Chris Parker. Digital video from Super8mm. 69 min.
In his earlier Dear Jimmy (1978), Harald Vogl’s alter ego expressed muted enthusiasm for plotted films; in this ostensible murder mystery, the genre elements are merely a pretext for the series of haunting (if inconclusive and only mildly erotic) homo-social encounters he stages. Starting with the familiar premise of the absent woman, so popular with Downtown filmmakers, Vogl drains his storytelling of any hints of noir stylization. Instead of nighttime scenes, slick streets, and dark alleys, he shoots documentary-style on the nondescript, sunlit streets of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and City Island in a manner that casually references the art-film angst of Michelangelo Antonioni. The interracial coupling of the lead performers was unusual on the No Wave Super8 scene, where gender, rather than race, was the typical casting motif. And the film is further spiced with brief cameos by scenesters Jim Jarmusch and Diego Cortez (playing dispassionate police detectives), Patti Astor, and Gary Indiana. Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art, New York.