Harmony Korine

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criterion10
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Re: Harmony Korine

#101 Post by criterion10 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:35 pm

There are moments in Julien Donkey-Boy where I absolutely love the film's style. How could anyone forget Werner Herzog spraying his son down with a hose, or even the entire climax of the film in the ice skating rink? But, at the same time, there are many dull moments in the film, like the lengthy church sequence. It's difficult to explain what exactly it is I have a problem with. It might be the overall detached feeling that the film has from its characters and the ongoing events.

I personally enjoy parts of Mister Lonely and Trash Humpers, but the sum of those parts adds up to very little for me in each film. Korine hasn't made a truly great film since Gummo, so I'm hoping that Spring Breakers will be his return to form.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#102 Post by knives » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:39 pm

I actually find the church sequence to be really fascinating though my favorite moment where everything seems to come together is the albino song which struck me very personally for reasons I can't figure out. It has pushed itself so far into the grotesque that it comes around to the other end as Ave Maria or something like that.

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#103 Post by swo17 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:43 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
swo17 wrote:I'll grant you breathtaking, original, and work. But art?

Weren't you this forum's biggest supporter of that film?

search.php?keywords=gummo+big+supporter&terms=all&author=swo17&sc=1&sf=all&sk=t&sd=d&sr=posts&st=0&ch=300&t=0&submit=Search

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Re: Harmony Korine

#104 Post by criterion10 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:45 pm

The Albino sequence is indeed pretty great. The moment in Gummo that strikes me most emotionally is probably the climax (if that term could even apply to this film). [spoiler]Watching Bunny Boy make out with the twins in the pool, Solomon and Tummler kill Foot-Foot, and Bunny Boy run towards the camera extending the cat out towards the viewer, effectively breaking the fourth wall, is one of the greatest ending montages in cinema history. And those haunting shots of the tornado playing over, as the entire sequence is all set to the lovely music of Roy Orbison's Crying. Simply beautiful.[/spoiler]

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#105 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:48 pm

swo17 wrote:http://www.criterionforum.org/forum/search.php?keywords=gummo+big+supporter&terms=all&author=swo17&sc=1&sf=all&sk=t&sd=d&sr=posts&st=0&ch=300&t=0&submit=Search

Maybe I'm confusing you with another member, then, because I had the impression you'd defended Gummo on a number of occasions.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#106 Post by swo17 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:52 pm

I apologize deeply if I ever gave anyone that impression.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#107 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:54 pm

Reading back through this thread, I'm pretty sure I was confusing you with toiletdcuk. I have no idea why, as aside from the fact you're both good members I don't think you share anything in common. Sorry about that.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#108 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:11 pm

criterion10 wrote:The Albino sequence is indeed pretty great. The moment in Gummo that strikes me most emotionally is probably the climax (if that term could even apply to this film). [spoiler]Watching Bunny Boy make out with the twins in the pool, Solomon and Tummler kill Foot-Foot, and Bunny Boy run towards the camera extending the cat out towards the viewer, effectively breaking the fourth wall, is one of the greatest ending montages in cinema history. And those haunting shots of the tornado playing over, as the entire sequence is all set to the lovely music of Roy Orbison's Crying. Simply beautiful.[/spoiler]

But why? That's what my question always has been about that film. Everyone mentions this montage, they mention the bacon on the wall, they mention the sequence with the grandmother - WHY is this all something worthy of this praise? I've never conversed with anyone who has said "Oh, well Korine was obviously trying to accomplish X Y and Z here, and A B and C there." It's always just like "How crazy is that bacon on the wall?!" My impression always has been that Korine doesn't know what it is to be lower class, and I've never conversed with someone who really knows what it is to be lower class who has responded favorably to the depiction of the lower class that this film presents. It's always seemed to me to be a film made by a privileged, sniveling brat for other privileged, sniveling brats - a celebration of the supposed beauty in the horror of a class of dignity-less people who don't actually exist in the real world.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#109 Post by criterion10 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:17 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:But why? That's what my question always has been about that film. Everyone mentions this montage, they mention the bacon on the wall, they mention the sequence with the grandmother - WHY is this all something worthy of this praise? I've never conversed with anyone who has said "Oh, well Korine was obviously trying to accomplish X Y and Z here, and A B and C there." It's always just like "How crazy is that bacon on the wall?!"

Okay, I'm going to post the review here that I wrote on Letterboxd. While long, I feel that it is the only way to answer this question properly:

"Writing a review for Gummo is probably the hardest assignment that I have ever given myself. It is always difficult to write about the films that you love, trying to put into words what it is about them that so dearly appeals to you. But writing about Gummo is truly a case of its own. What is it about this film that has caused it to become one of my all-time favorites? And what is it that has caused it to be classified as one of the worst films ever made by others?

It would be easy to dismiss Gummo. Hell, I could throw out words like exploitative, trashy, and pretentious. But to do so would simply be missing the point of this film. In his directorial debut, Harmony Korine has tossed out all the classic rules of filmmaking and created a truly original work of art, a film that is like no other. Narrative structure and character development are nowhere to be found. What you are invited in for instead is something far different.

I have seen numerous people trying to analyze Gummo, trying to verbalize the point of this film. Well, I have to differ and claim that they are missing the point of this film by doing so. The point of Gummo is that there is no point. There is no message. There is no attempt to appeal to the intellect of a person and enlighten them with a greater meaning, but rather instead to appeal directly to their inner emotions.

Gummo consists of a series of vignettes, fragments of the lives of a colorful group of citizens living in the rural area of Xenia, Ohio. We meet characters like Solomon and Tummler, who go about their days killing cats, riding bikes, and sniffing glue. We meet characters like Dot and Darby, who are twin girls raising their younger sister. And along the way, we meet other characters, maybe only for a brief moment, maybe for a sole, individual scene. But each character is memorable and creates a striking impression on the viewer.

These characters live in poor conditions, and Xenia, Ohio is depicted as a stereotypical, white-trash neighborhood. The area is run down. Houses are unkempt. And in one of the film’s most famous sequences, there is a piece of bacon taped to the wall.

And this is where many have criticized Korine and the merits of his film, claiming that he is profiting off of lower-class and using them to his advantage. But what Gummo’s detractors have failed to see is the beauty in the film. Never is Korine poking fun at the characters in the film. Never does he approach the subject matter with a moral superiority. He is simply capturing the everyday lives of these people in a highly stylized, memorable manner. And their lives may consist of brutally killing cats, or sniffing glue, or many other odd and disturbing things. But Korine’s direction is never pretentious nor exploitative. The way he captures the everyday lives of a part of America that seems to have been forgotten is both haunting and beautiful.

I could continue on to praise various aspects of the film, such as the collage-like editing style, or the sublime camera work of the late cinematographer Jean-Yves Escoffier, or even the wonderful casting choices in each of the different characters, many of which were in fact amateurs. But again, these simple aspects of filmmaking are not what Gummo is about. It is about the combination of these things that contribute in creating an incredible emotional experience like no other film before.

Gummo grabs you by your throat and never lets you go until the film ends. It leaves you with a feeling that is unlike any feeling that I have ever been left with at the end of a film, one that is difficult to put into words. It is not a typical feeling that most films leave you with, like happiness or sadness. It is the feeling that what you have just seen is truly something special that you will not be forgetting anytime soon."

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Re: Harmony Korine

#110 Post by Zot! » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:35 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
criterion10 wrote:The Albino sequence is indeed pretty great. The moment in Gummo that strikes me most emotionally is probably the climax (if that term could even apply to this film). [spoiler]Watching Bunny Boy make out with the twins in the pool, Solomon and Tummler kill Foot-Foot, and Bunny Boy run towards the camera extending the cat out towards the viewer, effectively breaking the fourth wall, is one of the greatest ending montages in cinema history. And those haunting shots of the tornado playing over, as the entire sequence is all set to the lovely music of Roy Orbison's Crying. Simply beautiful.[/spoiler]

But why? That's what my question always has been about that film. Everyone mentions this montage, they mention the bacon on the wall, they mention the sequence with the grandmother - WHY is this all something worthy of this praise? I've never conversed with anyone who has said "Oh, well Korine was obviously trying to accomplish X Y and Z here, and A B and C there." It's always just like "How crazy is that bacon on the wall?!" My impression always has been that Korine doesn't know what it is to be lower class, and I've never conversed with someone who really knows what it is to be lower class who has responded favorably to the depiction of the lower class that this film presents. It's always seemed to me to be a film made by a privileged, sniveling brat for other privileged, sniveling brats - a celebration of the supposed beauty in the horror of a class of dignity-less people who don't actually exist in the real world.

A lot of people can't get past the grotesquerie, but what I think is remarkable about the movie is that it is an honest depiction of large segments of our population who are not represented otherwise. Sure it takes poetic license, and finds some humor, but much like it's inspiration, Babenco's Pixote, there is a horrifying truth here.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#111 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:51 pm

But is it honest? It's incredibly exploitative and presumptuous about how the underprivileged live. And no offense, criterion10 - but my question was partially directed at that review you wrote. It seems a bit baffling to say "the point is that there is no point." What we're seeing doesn't even accomplish the base goal of entertainment - so if there's no point to watch this difficult to stomach material otherwise, why in the name of Haneke are we still supposed to be watching?

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Re: Harmony Korine

#112 Post by criterion10 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:06 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:But is it honest? It's incredibly exploitative and presumptuous about how the underprivileged live. And no offense, criterion10 - but my question was partially directed at that review you wrote. It seems a bit baffling to say "the point is that there is no point." What we're seeing doesn't even accomplish the base goal of entertainment - so if there's no point to watch this difficult to stomach material otherwise, why in the name of Haneke are we still supposed to be watching?

I would say it's honest. Heck, many of the houses Korine filmed in were exactly found as depicted in the film. Many of the crew members refused to go in these areas unless dressed appropriately (Korine and Jean-Yves would wear speedos and flip-flops just to piss them off). The thing I think you're wrong on is that Korine isn't looking at these people with any sort of contempt. He's not trying to come off as being morally superior. He's simply saying that this is how these people live, and then goes on to depict a series of vivid, striking images from their lives.

Now, personally, I find Gummo enormously entertaining and memorable, so that's just something we'll have to agree to disagree on. In regards to my statement, "the point is that there is not point," Korine was often asked what his purpose was with Gummo and if there was any deeper meaning to the film. This question is what my statement refers to, that being that Gummo is not a film one sees in search of a point or a message. Again, this goes very much against traditional cinema, where there is always supposed to be a point to be a film, maybe dealing a hidden message. Where as one would look at a Kubrick or Lynch film and try to analyze the film for a deeper meaning, doing so with Gummo would be a fruitless exercise. Gummo is about the emotional feeling that the film leaves you with.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#113 Post by knives » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:07 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:It's always seemed to me to be a film made by a privileged, sniveling brat for other privileged, sniveling brats - a celebration of the supposed beauty in the horror of a class of dignity-less people who don't actually exist in the real world.

As someone who grew up not even able to afford sneakers I feel comfortable saying no. There's a nugget of truth there (certainly it reflects my experiences growing up in Ohio and Virginia) that allows for the more dadaist aspects to gain an emotive meaning no long being dadaist.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#114 Post by Zot! » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:11 pm

knives wrote:
mfunk9786 wrote:It's always seemed to me to be a film made by a privileged, sniveling brat for other privileged, sniveling brats - a celebration of the supposed beauty in the horror of a class of dignity-less people who don't actually exist in the real world.

As someone who grew up not even able to afford sneakers I feel comfortable saying no. There's a nugget of truth there (certainly it reflects my experiences growing up in Ohio and Virginia) that allows for the more dadaist aspects to gain an emotive meaning no long being dadaist.

Yeah, it's really not that far out. Heck, that Honey Boo-Boo show is in the ballpark.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#115 Post by knives » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:14 pm

I'll give an uncomfortable agreement to that, but I find my background and Gummo have more dignity, self-awareness, and wit then that. I feel significantly more ire towards that and similar reality shows than Korine who strikes me like Pasolini in his interest of what he is not.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#116 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:18 pm

I guess I missed the dignity in putting a kid in a bizarrely filthy bathtub while he's being fed a dried out plate of spaghetti and a candy bar. Depicting human beings like monsters who can't make a determination of how to feed their children or whether water is suitably safe and clean isn't dignity to me, it just seems like "this doesn't look poor enough, up the ante"

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Re: Harmony Korine

#117 Post by knives » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:26 pm

I honestly was going to point to that scene as a case of almost pure documentary seeping through the supposed madness (I should note I am in disagreement with Crit though as I find Gummo Korine's second weakest work). That scene for as much as it gets pointed out by people such as yourself strikes me as something similar in at least feeling to life. Certainly there is a level of Lynch inspired exaggeration going on here, but Korine never made claims for neo-realism. The act itself of a young kid eating lunch or whatever while taking a bath (it would be weird if it was a shower though) is perfectly ordinary. If anything you are the one showing a middle-class elitist mentality for acting repulsed by it, though I don't think the film is trying such a Haneke exercise as my statement suggests. That's largely incidental.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#118 Post by criterion10 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:36 pm

Knives, as I take it you are a fan of Korine, how would you rate his works?

For me, it'd be: Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy, Mister Lonely, Trash Humpers

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Re: Harmony Korine

#119 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:38 pm

I like his script for Kids but Gummo and Julien Donkey Boy are abominations of glorified ugliness. That said, I would never argue against his importance as a filmmaker relative to his peers

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Re: Harmony Korine

#120 Post by knives » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:42 pm

criterion10 wrote:Knives, as I take it you are a fan of Korine, how would you rate his works?

For me, it'd be: Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy, Mister Lonely, Trash Humpers

Julien Donkey-Boy, Mister Lonely, Gummo, Trash Humpers. I'd actually probably raise Gummo if not for Julien Donkey-Boy which I feel improves on the more voyeuristic elements of Gummo (the whole person from an outside culture watching thing Mfunk notes) in a manner that strikes me as more varied.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#121 Post by criterion10 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:45 pm

Well, one thing's for certain, it'll be very interesting to see how Spring Breakers turns out...

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Re: Harmony Korine

#122 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:46 pm

I really wanted to like Mister Lonely but it struck me as a filmmaker attempting to do something interesting with something resembling a plot and falling comically flat on his face. I wish the guy no particular ill will just like Domino, I just haven't seen a good film of his, or to be quite honest, anything approaching a good film, and that leads me to believe that this goofy-looking new project isn't necessarily something to step over anyone to see. I hope I'm wrong, but I just don't know. Good on ya for enjoying Gummo, etc - but I just can't understand the key question of "why?" w/r/t Korine and am not sure I ever will.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#123 Post by criterion10 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:51 pm

I think my problem with Mister Lonely is that a lot of the material is just kind of dull. I love the segments with Werner Herzog and the nuns, but many of the moments with the impersonators are just downright cheesy and uninteresting. Still, there are some great moments. I particularly love the painted eggs scene (yes, I know, the sing-a-long part of the film), but as I stated with Trash Humpers, the sum of those moments doesn't add up to much for me.

Spring Breakers seems vastly different to Korine's other works, and so I'm certainly interested to see it. I've heard some say it's great, and others say it's little more than an exploitation film.

As a whole, Korine's an interesting filmmaker. The only problem for me is that he peaked tremendously with Gummo, but hasn't been able to make a truly great film since (I do like Julien Donkey-Boy very much actually, but I wouldn't say that it's great, rather very good).

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Re: Harmony Korine

#124 Post by AlexHansen » Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:06 am

criterion10 wrote:Spring Breakers seems vastly different to Korine's other works
Different but the same.

And a little something that might brighten someone's day.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#125 Post by criterion10 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:48 pm

Time for a thread for Spring Breakers maybe?

New poster and release date (in NYC and LA March 22nd, wide March 29th).

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