Korine is polarizing, and I’d like to see what kind of range of opinion is present on this forum toward his work.
Korine, for me, is personally problematic. Not love/hate. More of an enthralled/repulsed sort of thing. His work is strong considering his youth. His screen writing on KIDS easily produced some of the most naturalistic dialogue of the last decade. And it can’t be denied he makes images that aren’t easily removed from the mind. What repulses me about his work is hard for me to articulate. I think it’s that his humanist touches never quite compensate for some of the human ugliness he puts on screen.
I’ve only seen “Kids,” so I don’t have a very informed opinion. But that film was really disturbing, and I still find images and sequences from it replaying themselves in my imagination. What bothers me about it is hard to articulate, but I think the repulsion effect comes from having been in the audience—if that makes sense. Putting such things on the screen is one thing—arguably, it’s a bold telling of hard, ugly truths—but sitting and watching it somehow morally compromises the viewer, somehow puts us in the position of being “entertained” by it in some sense. And maybe that’s an even harder, uglier truth to accept! Maybe the implication is that I ought to feel just as morally compromised when I watch nifty, well-choreographed Hollywood violence as when I watched that gang of kids beat and stomp the black kid in the park in “Kids.”
Gummo scares the living daylights out of me. I tried watching it, but I… I can’t view it in its entireity. Just the unsettling scenarios, the very very bleak outlook on life. The attempt at making it “entertaining”… It’s all so… Powerfully awful.
Powerfully awful is an apt description. KIDS is a peculiar film, yes it has it’s place, but noone is entirely sure where exactly that is. It is shot extremely simplistic and Korine is clearly not a pedant but at the same time what did he really capture? He’s grasping dirt and trying to force us to as well. Misery is not something that cannot be written or filmed or told in any narrative way but if your not Dostoyevsky good luck.
I just haven’t cared for anything he has done, but I just saw Mister Lonely and the inserted subplot about the falling nuns was brilliant, and deserved a far better film to frame it.
The opening shot of Mister Lonely on its own will put the film on my best of list for 2008.
Korine is one of the most interesting American directors working today, not only for his films, but also for his ridiculous personal life (burning down multiple houses, and so on) and for the fact that he openly lies about his own mythology. Basically, the character of Harmony Korine is the most lasting and complex work of art he’ll ever create, and everything he says and every film he makes is in service of that character.
Also, his novel A Crack Up at the Race Riots is a thing of pure, meth-fueled insanity, touching on genius. I also highly recommend watching his appearance on David Letterman.
“Kids” was directed by Larry Clark not Harmony Korine. Yes he did write it and yes that’s when the world first took notice of him but it’s not his film. Calling “Kids” a Korine film would be like callling “Pocket Change” a Terrance Malick’s film. It doesn’t make sense. So if you’ve only seen “Kids” you haven’t seen a Korine film.
That being said, he’s only directed three films. But I think he’s proven himself. In my opinion he’s the first great director of his generation. I never get why people find his films so ugly. Personally I think there’s always a real underlying sense of humanity in of his work. I like what Andy Battaglia wrote about him for ‘The Onion’:
“One movie I often myself arguing for is Gummo, which was huge for me when it came out, and which holds up totally still. The rap against that film (and director Harmony Korine in general) is that it plays like a nihilistic romp in thrall to transgression, no matter the kind or consequence. But I see a lot of tenderness in it, in the genuinely loving and/or curious way that Korine photographed so many of his characters (disabled, creepy, poor) and let them burn onscreen, unmediated. Complaints about those scenes often make for interesting binds in which the detractors reveal more about themselves than the scenes they take to task. If that sounds like good wriggling bait for argument, well, it is.”
I agree with Kazik. To me, Korine’s work is not so much about beatifying the “vulgar”, airbrushing the burn victim or making a disfigured mind seem debase or demonic—-but much more about celebrating these human extremities simply through their unhindered presentation. Harmony, as a sort of neo-realistic screenwriter, seems to approach his storylines as though they were a sequence of moments or a string of episodic human interactions. Korine very well may just be a lover of interaction (with a little money and a camera). Though his work bares strong resemblance to the work of Cassavetes and the Maysle brothers, he is still a very odd permutation of “direct cinema”. A fusion of fly-on-the-wall verite aesthetics, cut-and-paste poetics, and extravagantly orchestrated surrealism, Korine is, at the very core, a collagist—-not a storyteller (though his recent piece Mr. Lonely seems to be a step away from this sort of narrative disorientation we see in Gummo or Julian Donkey Boy). He liberates the viewers sense of narrative restraint by constantly deviating from it. His pieces are embracing the vulgar through this odd sort of celebatory exploitation. Subjective normalcy, as presented on-screen, seems to Korine to be surreal enough as it is—-with or without thematic order, implicit meaning or easy-to-digest color-coding. Entangled between the brutality of “the moment” and the sincerity of a day-dream, I love Korine’s work for what I bring out of it, not for what—-some may think—-it attempts to provoke out of me (Tod Browning’s “Freaks” -taking in the year it was made—is just as exploitative as, say, Gummo—-but measuring a film’s worth through charting various degrees of exploitation is not really my specialty).
Well it’s been two years so I’m curious if anyone still cares about Korine anymore.
Personally, I’ve been picking through his repertoire (either things he’s touched a la Kids, or actually directed) and I’ve always been astonished that though his films often lack a leading narrative, I don’t exclude Gummo from this even though it did literally have a narration, he is capable of evoking such strong emotions.
I’ve always enjoyed his choice for a first-person cinematography as a substitute, and feel as if it lends a sense of ownership to the audience.
One of his more recent film, Trash Humpers, Korine’s brash adaptation of a satirical comedy, upset me greatly. But, maybe I was being a little bitter over being his punchline.
Eitherway, Korine may be bit of a amateur in the film industry, but his unique mind has contributed more to cinema than plenty of the bigger more recognizable names.
I’ve seen the majority of his films, writing, directing, or both (Kids, Gummo, Trash Humpers, Ken Park, Mister Lonely) and i honestly don’t really see the appeal. I guess i keep watching his films because i expect at least one of them to be good, but i’m consistently let down.
i’m actually surprised of the acclaim he garners. could some of you please explain to me some of the attraction, or should i just write this one off as personal preference?
Korine is now working on Spring Breakers (let’s hope it is more Lonely and less Humpers)
[Spring Breakers] follows four college-aged girls who rob a fast food restaurant to afford spring break in Florida, only to get arrested upon their arrival… Alien, a rapping drug and arms dealer, bails them out and entices them to kill his arch-rival, a murderer who is appropriately named Arch.
Unusually there is another advancement in the pre-production already as today Variety have reported that Disney Channel starlets Selena Gomez AND Vanessa Hudgens are BOTH in talks to appear in Korine’s upcoming project “Springbreakers”.
Roberts would play a Southerner who feeds off danger, while Gomez would play a religious girl. The rest of the group would include Hudgens. Franco will co-star as a drug and arms dealer who bails them out of jail.
MJZ prexy David Zander will produce with Chris Hanley of Muse Prods., as well as Charles-Marie Anthonioz (“Trash Humpers”) and Jordan Gertner. Production will take place during spring break in Florida.
CAA packaged the project and will rep its domestic distribution rights, as the powerhouse agency reps Korine, Franco, Roberts, Hudgens and Gomez. Franco, Roberts, Hudgens and Gomez are respectively managed by Miles Levy of James/Levy Management, David Sweeney of Sweeney Entertainment, Evan Hainey of Untitled Entertainment and Mandy Teefey of LH7 Management. Hudgens and Gomez are also repped by attorneys Stephen Espinoza and PJ Shapiro, respectively.
This sounds like an 80s teen sex comedy. I guess that kinda makes sense.
OMFG I really hope this ends up happening!
alright, the premise for his new movie sounds pretty great lollolololol
however everything else i’ve seen that he’s involved with is literally, and i quote another film critic, “fucking awful, it is incomprehensible how this man [Korine] continues to garner acclaim for making shit films in a shit genre for a shit class of humanity.”
my hate isn’t this strong for his films, but i do heavily dislike them. :P
Mister Lonely >>
I don’t understand how anyone can dislike Korine! I think he’s my favorite filmmaker working today! I cannot wait to see what he would do with a cast of Disney whores!
Brentos – what critic said that?
Indeed! Someone should let that critic know that all art is a mirror, especially Korine’s movies.
So why dont critics just get off their asses and start making movies – if their such experts :)
The arts (film, music, art ………) would be a better place without them.
They just bring everybody down, and their wrong most of the time.
Critics talked shit about…..Citizen Kane, Black Biscuit, Gummo, ……….. all great forward thinking films.
They ’re stalling us.
Be a creator not a critic.
true, true….what’s black biscuit?
There are a number of different ways to interpret this interview…
i too can not wait to see what he does with that cast of Disney whores, i am very intrigued.
i tried googling for that critic and can’t find anything and i don’t remember where i read it
“I saw the previews…”
I wonder what concoction of drugs he’s on?
this is a nice article as well
Cache, are you just trying to plug some movie you’re involved in?
That movie doesn’t even have a rating on IMDB yet (awaiting 5 votes) and you have a list dedicated to it on your profile.
There’s a slight difference in Citizen Kane and some movie nobody has had a chance to even see yet.
bold move Cache, very bold.
I watched the trailer for Black Biscuit. it gave me a headache. let me know when it’s finished, i’ll see if i can sit through it.
Who is your favorite maverick director?
Great, whats wrong with having loads of different styles, the reason I love that film Black Biscuit is because I’ve discovered a filmmaker who doesnt give a shit – hallelujah
Thats how Eraserhead got a reputation, people talked about it.
Eraserhead is not a very good film.
It’s not the styles that i didnt enjoy from the trailer, it was the overall feel of Black Biscuits—early 90s neo-avant-garde trying too hard to be something “edgy” or “unique” and killing itself in the process with all of its ‘not-giving-a-shit experimentation." This is 2011, get with the times, or get ahead of them. The bit about filming the movie with a phone camera, it’s been done. nothing that i witnessed in the trailer felt visceral, intellectual, aesthetically pleasing, unique, or amazing, but that’s just how the trailer felt.
if you have access to the film in whole, i would be willing to watch it, but that trailer was not very good. and your blind promotion of the film all over this website leads me to believe you are definitely involved with the film, or at the very least you’re friends with the filmmakers.
why not start a thread for the film and leave this one for Harmony and all of his lovable filth.
by the way, I still commend your audacity of putting Black Biscuits in comparison with Citizen Kane lol