harmony korine (a sort of retrospective) – Kids & Julien Donkey Boy

Please join us for harmony korine (a sort of retrospective), curated and hosted by Wesley Stokes, with support from Press Street and Charitable Film Network.  For more information contact youngisdumb@gmail.com.

Harmony Korine (b. 1973) is an American filmmaker and writer whose work is some of the most imaginative and appalling in the canon of cinema today.Raised in Nashville, Tennessee and later in New York City, Korine has made and written films that seek to show a true beauty in characters that are marginalized in society. Blurring the lines between the scripted and reality, his movies are filled with white trash, drugged up teens, celebrity impersonators, the elderly, and the mentally ill all of whom often actually play themselves making viewers both cringe in horror and feel a sweet sadness in their honesty. Familiar themes of tap dancing and fantastical urban legends riddle the storyline of his films and leave the viewer confused but satisfied by what they’ve just experienced.

Thursday, March 21st
6:00 pm – Kids – (1995 / Directed by Larry Clark and written by Harmony Korine)
Directed by Larry Clark in 1995, Kids was the result of Harmony Korine giving a thirty five page script that he’d written in 1993 at the age of eighteen to the director while he was photographing skaters in Washington Square Park. Charmed with the script (originally about a boy whose father takes him to a prostitute on his thirteenth birthday), Clark asked Korine to write a script about a 24 hour period in the lives of several New York teens in the midst of the AIDS epidemic. The resulting NC-17 rated film catapulted Korine to celebrity status (as well as actress Chloë Sevigny) and getting him a memorable guest spot on Late Night With David Letterman.

8:00 pm – Julien Donkey-Boy – (1999 / Directed* by Harmony Korine)
Korine’s second feature film as a director was an experiment under the Dogme 95 manifesto and the first non-European film to do so. The requirements called for filming to be done on location, all handheld cameras had to be used, sound had to be apart of the shooting and not added in post, no special lighting was allowed, and the director must not be credited* among other things. Through a creative bending of these tenants, Korine used hidden cameras on set, had music playing in the scenes, and used a harness camera to show POV shots from the main character.

The film follows Julien who is schizophrenic and living with his oppressive father (played by Werner Herzog), his brother who is infinitely training to be what is alluded to be an Olympic champion, and his sister (played by Chloë Sevigny) who is possibly carrying Julien’s child.
Friday, March 22nd

6:00 pm – Selected short films, videos, and commercials

Act Da Fool (2010 / Directed by Harmony Korine / 4 min.)

Curb Dance (2011/ Directed by Harmony Korine / 2 min.)

Umshini Wam (2011 / Directed by Harmony Korine / 15 min.)
Starring Die Antwoord’s Ninja and Yo Landi, Umshini Wam follows a couple of white trash mutant gangsters around for a typical day of keepin’ it gangsta.

Snowballs (2011 / Directed by Harmony Korine / 4 min.)

Diary of Anne Frank Part 2 (1998 / Directed by Harmony Korine / 2 min. excerpt)
Made with many of the same actors who were in Gummo, The Diary of Anne Frank Part 2 was screened as a 30 to 40 minute triptych installation at various galleries both in the U.S. and abroad. The aesthetic is an exaggeration of the collage style Korine used in making Gummo, using field recordings of random conversation and music paired with abstracted and miscellaneous images.

Korine Tap (2000 / Directed by Harmony Korine / 2 min)

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – No More Workhorse Blues (2004 / Directed by Harmony Korine / 3 min.)

Into The Night – Harmony Korine and Gaspar Noe (2010 / Directed by Bruce LaBruce / 53 min.)
Made for German television, Into The Night is a mini documentary that follows Harmony Korine around Nashville for a day showing French filmmaker Gaspar Noe his favorite local spots.

8:00 pm – Trash Humpers (2009 / Directed by Harmony Korine)
Trash Humpers follows a group of elderly freaks who go around Nashville and find piles of garbage to hump and generally just cruise around being weirdos. Filmed entirely on stressed VHS tape and edited the same, Korine claimed that his original intention was to make the film uncredited and leave it in places where people would find it and bootleg it to the point of it becoming an underground cult film. Of the movie he says, “I remember when I was a child there was a small group of elderly people who would hang out in the back alleys and under bridges by my house. They always seemed to be getting drunk and dancing. One night I looked out my bedroom window and saw a group of them humping trash cans laughing. It sounded like they were speaking a strange invented language. This is a whole movie about them.”

Thursday, March 28th
6:00 pm –  Ken Park (2002 / Directed by Larry Clark and Ed Lachman, and written by Harmony Korine)
Set in Visalia, California, Ken Park is another collaboration between Harmony Korine and Larry Clark that depicts the dysfunctional lives of several teenagers. Beginning with a teen named Ken Park filming his own suicide, the story revolves around the aftermath as it effects others that he knew.  Due to the graphic nature of the film and failure to get music copyright, Ken Park was never properly shown in the U.S. 

8:00 pm – Mister Lonely (2007 / Directed by Harmony Korine)
Starring Diego Luna (Milk, Y Tu Mamá También, Before Night Falls) as a Michael Jackson impersonator in Paris, the film is primarily set on an island of celebrity impersonators where all of the residents have retreated from the cruelty of outside society to create their own world where they can put on shows every night.

Inspired from Korine’s own brief experience living on a commune with his parents as a child, Mister Lonely is the first of his feature films to have a larger budget ($8.2 million) and slick production. The film sought to show the obsessive nature of the impersonator personality in an endearing light. During filming the cast lived together in a Scottish castle and stayed in impersonator mode for the entirety of the shooting even while off screen. Actor Denis Lavant (who recently starred in the celebrated French film, Holy Motors directed by Leos Carax) was said to have bathed wearing his shoes during filming because legend has it that Charlie Chaplain who Savant plays as an impregnator, did the same in real life.

Friday, March 29th
6:00 pm – Gummo
(1997 / Directed by Harmony Korine)
For his first feature length film, Korine follows a series of characters through the town of Xenia, Ohio (all principal shooting was actually done in Nashville), a town devastated by a tornado in the 70’s. While there are a few main characters that keep a narrative structure or sorts, most of the film is a series of sketches and real people that Korine documented during the course of the filming. The intention was to capture characters that he saw in Nashville on a regular basis that he had never seen represented on screen.

Most of the story follows two adolescents, Tummler and Solomon, as they ride around on bicycles looking for stray cats that they can kill and sell to a Chinese restaurant to buy money for glue sniffing. The iconic “Bunny Boy” is a mute character that appears in the film at various points as an almost surreal ambassador for the storyline which is otherwise mostly collaged together as opposed to the traditional three act format for a film.

(Followed by a Q + A with actor Jacob Sewell who played “The Bunny Boy” in the film).