directed by Larry Clark
After reading another stellar review for the film La Haine on the fantastically fantastic blog, On the Road Again, I found myself thinking about Larry Clark’s dark slice of life, Kids, penned by the twisted mind of Harmony Korine and acted by a full roster of (at the time) no name actors all hungry to make themselves heard. While La Haine is a more fully realized film in terms of story, a more rewarding and, frankly, stronger piece of filmmaking (great review, Paul), Kids is a staggering portrait of modern youth, of egocentric, amoral and pre-life experience cynicism that cares for nothing beyond its immediate orbit of instant gratification. The film revolves around Telly (a great Leo Fitzpatrick), who prefers to screw virgins because they are clean, and his quasi-junkie friend Casper. Casper and Telly roam the streets and find numerous situations (of varying degrees of legality) to fill their otherwise aimless day, while Jennie (a career defining performance by Chloe Sevigny) seeks out Telly to deliver some terrifying news. Clark’s filmic eye disturbs, even in broad daylight (and in public), but it is Korine’s script that shocks to the core. Perhaps I just don’t get Mr. K. Perhaps I miss the point of his films the same way I sometimes miss the point of some modern art, but films like Gummo (just typing that title sent a shudder through me), Julien Donkey-Boy and his epically disturbing opus, Trash Humpers (if you are having trouble visualizing what sort of film would possibly have a name like that, please watch the following trailer immediately), leave me exhausted and icky. As I have said before: I am all for pushing the boundaries of film and taking the art form to the next level, but shock for shock’s sake is not my cup of tea. I am not ready to write Mr. Korine off just yet, however, because I feel that one day, as I watch whatever oddity comprises his latest endeavor, his collective vision will finally click for me and I will be able to see his work with new eyes. Until that day, though, I will remain an odd duck in the film geek world: a full on lover of all things indie who somehow cannot embrace the Harmony Korines and the Todd Solondzes (Storytelling, Happiness) of the cinematic world.
Let’s not get it twisted: La Haine and Kids are NOT the same film. I just find myself talking about these two films in relation to one another because of the closeness of their release dates, the cosmic similarities in terms of subject matter (disenfranchised youth, urban violence), and the overall feeling of heaviness (to quote Marty McFly) that seems to cloud the world after imbibing in such harsh tonics. Both are worth watching, however.
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