Do you mean the cinematography of the film is ugly or merely its subject matter? Would you call Diane Arbus' photos ugly? Or Nan Goldin's? Or War photography for that matter, simply because of its somewhat "marginal" subject matter? I think both of Korine's films have some amazing imagery that is captured beautifully by his cinematographers.domino harvey wrote:The problem with Korine's films is that they are ugly to the point of coming off as nothing more than audience instigation, and there's not a whole lot more boring than a third-rate provocateur.
Are Korine's films really that provocative or disturbing? I think Korine's films are more conventional than people seem to perceive or characterize them. Of course it's not traditional Hollywood narrative cinema but the tranche de vie (slice of life) approach in Gummo goes back as early as Italian neorealism in the 1940's. Korine is just part of that naturalistic evolution in cinema. Even though there might not be a real story or plot, there always is a certain structure, pace and atmosphere in Korine's films. In Gummo there is the recurring tornado premise and the voice-over narration (quite similar to Terrence Malick's use of voice-over). And in Julien Donkey-boy there even is a somewhat traditional plot or denouement.
I don't understand why you would say it works for Festen but not for Julien Donkey-boy. Since they are both Dogme95 films, they both have the same cinematographer and you could say a somewhat similar aesthetic. Especially since you seem to appreciate some of the cinematography in Gummo. Granted the grainy digital video blown up to 35mm is a bit harsh visually sometimes, but it is not much different than the other Dogme95 films (like Festen) or even the grainy home video parts in Gummo. I certainly found some of the same striking images in Julien Donkey-Boy. The iceskating ballerina sequence or Chloe Sevigny walking in the field to name only a few.brownbunny wrote:i think the comment about his films being downright ugly is pretty apt. ugliness can work very well as an aesthetic choice in something like eraserhead or even something like festen, where the dogma principle motivates the way the entire film operates, but in something like julian donkey boy it simply fails to connect. it's simply pure, unmitigated ugliness that is the prevailing feeling i get when watching it.