Harmony Korine

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mfunk9786
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Re: Harmony Korine

#76 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:39 pm

Oh please. Amelie makes an effort to entertain, while Gummo just makes an effort to disgust.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#77 Post by criterion10 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:03 pm

The thing with Gummo is that Korine isn't being exploitative; he's just capturing slices of life, images that he as the director claims he wants to see. Sure, there are some disturbing, odd, and surreal images that he captures but he isn't out to make fun of the people he's showcasing. But, there are also many comical and beautiful moments, whether it be the opening shots of Bunny Boy or the famous chair wrestling scene. There's something disturbingly beautiful about Gummo; take for instance, the scene where Tummler turns off the grandma's respirator. It's a horrific and disturbing scene, but there's also something beautiful about it, putting an old, sufferring person out of their misery. I know that this is not a film for everyone, but it sure is a film for me. I don't think Korine has made a great film since, although I do quite like Julien Donkey-Boy. Mister Lonely was overall just mediocre, besides that wonderful subplot about the flying nuns, and Trash Humpers could've been very fun, but was just downright stupid. I'm really hoping that Spring Breakers is his return to form.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#78 Post by ianungstad » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:52 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:Oh please. Amelie makes an effort to entertain, while Gummo just makes an effort to disgust.
I find it odd that you have this kind of scruples about Korine's work. It seems like every time there's some controversial movie featuring people being brutalized your usually quick to defend those films. A quick glance at the "Cinematic Violence: Can Anything Be Justified" thread shows that you seem to strongly support films like Hostel, The Human Centipede, A Serbian Film. I'm not really questioning the fact that you like a good shocker or are attracted to transgressive material but I'm interested to know why your looking down at Korine's work for it's shock value and his intent to "disgust" and these other films get a pass.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#79 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:59 am

Horror films get far too much credit for supposedly trying to be profound works of art on this forum. The reason I stopped participating in the horror thread is the same reason why I'm puzzled by your post - a film like Hostel is not trying to make an artistic statement about an economic grouping of people - it's not even trying to make a statement about the supposed dangers of international travel! A horror film's objective is to poke at a nerve and hopefully terrify or amuse the viewer (depending on the tone of the film, sometimes both). Gummo was designed as an art piece - someone urban and comfortable deciding that because they don't fit in where they came from as well as they'd like, they are somehow spiritual brothers with folks that have to scrape to feed themselves. And in doing so, he decided to put a film together that looks down at (whether he feels he's doing so is not for me to say, but doesn't matter) these people and uses them as a means to an awfully nasty end, in the name of art. A great horror film either a) has lower artistic ambitions so it can't be held accountable for these sorts of issues or b) has nobler ambitions altogether. Something like A Serbian Film has something important to say about the extremes of the porno industry, and feels it shouldn't shy away from horrifying imagery in order to say it. But it hasn't painted all of its characters as dreadful monsters the way Korine's film does, nor does it imply that pornography is implicitly hopeless, it's too smart, and too dignified. Just because you don't like the content in it doesn't make it purposeless. I don't think Gummo is without purpose either (no film is devoid of all purpose), I just think it's a nasty, badly made piece of work without any ambitions beyond exploitation of the people in it.

But I'm going to stop here, because it's giving me a headache to compare two very different films, and I don't want to get into another debate about A Serbian Film with someone who hasn't seen it - MichaelB and I already had to wrestle with that enough in the Cinematic Violence thread.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#80 Post by AlexHansen » Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:36 pm

My initial reason to post was to say that not all the characters are dreadful monsters, and the two words to prove it are "Linda" and "Manz". She's amazing in the film.

In any case, it's been too long since I've seen Gummo, and you're obviously coming at it from a completely different angle than how I perceive it, which is neither as a piece of Capital A Art nor as an attempt to portray any of the characters as realistic or even fictionalized versions of themselves. The portrayals of both the people and their surroundings are (consciously) exaggerated, but there is some truth contained in it. Out of curiosity, how would you take a scene of the kids grinding up rubber erasers and snorting them (insincere, exploitive, etc)?

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Re: Harmony Korine

#81 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:55 pm

It's insincere because it's misguided... it's one of many times in the film when the characters are represented as tremendously stupid mongrels of some kind simply because they're from a low-income community.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#82 Post by AlexHansen » Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:21 pm

I asked about that hypothetical scene, because in grade school there was a short spell where classmates would do that exact thing. The crushed up Smarties I could understand; the eraser not so much. I grew up in a low-income community. The county's unemployment rate is typically double the state's rate and looking at the data it was at 27.6% when I was 10, which would have been right around the time of the eraser snorting. I also knew some tremendously stupid people (one guy in high school that ate a small light bulb, like a mini mag size; he also smashed his head into the wire glass windows in the doors at school). The two don't go hand-in-hand; they weren't stupid because they're from a low-income community, they were just stupid. And bored. The boredom of growing up in a place with "nothing" to do can lead to fairly-intelligent people doing really stupid things.

So I wouldn't say it's insincere. Possibly misguided, and possibly a little too po-faced in its absurdity, but like I said, there's truth in there too.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#83 Post by Robert de la Cheyniest » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:21 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:Horror films get far too much credit for supposedly trying to be profound works of art on this forum. The reason I stopped participating in the horror thread is the same reason why I'm puzzled by your post - a film like Hostel is not trying to make an artistic statement about an economic grouping of people - it's not even trying to make a statement about the supposed dangers of international travel! A horror film's objective is to poke at a nerve and hopefully terrify or amuse the viewer (depending on the tone of the film, sometimes both). Gummo was designed as an art piece - someone urban and comfortable deciding that because they don't fit in where they came from as well as they'd like, they are somehow spiritual brothers with folks that have to scrape to feed themselves.
I understand your argument here, and in a lot of ways I agree with you perspective on Gummo, but I think this initial point really negates a lot of your argument. If "Hostel" isn't trying to make an artistic statement maybe it ends up saying something unintentionally. Why would Eli Roth (misguidely, in my opinion) say something like this about Hostel II in Fangoria:
“If people say that they think the films are misogynistic, well, you see Hostel Part Two and that will clear all of that up,”“If you see Hostel Part Two, you'll see these are great roles, and it's actually very much more of a feminist film than anything.”
Why would Carol Clover write this book? I understand where you're coming from since Gummo comes off as self-consciously arty but if you really want to stretch this argument you might as well just apply it to movies as whole. Why did people in 1960 think Andrew Sarris was a loony because he said Psycho was actually a profound work of art and not just a calculated thrill ride?

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Re: Harmony Korine

#84 Post by knives » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:30 pm

Roth's also admitted to enjoying the accidental effect of the first Hostel film becoming a commentary on US relations with Europe after 9/11 which certainly shows at least some concern for his films to be viewed as more than just a horror piece of fun. Robert's right that just because a film isn't trying to look experimental doesn't mean it can't be trying for something greater. Hawks is as plain shot and fun a filmmaker as I've ever seen, yet I doubt anyone would deny how cinematically he's made a lot of great art. You don't need your profound statement thudded through with dialog or even experimental visuals to have it.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#85 Post by repeat » Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:16 am

Just my two cents, but I think the problem with Korine for a lot of people really stems from his apparently sincere belief (probably derived from his reading of Herzog) that there is intrinsic artistic worth in images that are novel and extraordinary - not necessarily just repulsive or "shocking", but outlandish, surprising, and also formally/technologically innovative. It's well on record that he wanted to make films that would do and show things that in his opinion no other movies had, both formally and in terms of subject matter, and whether successful or not I think most would agree that he's been pretty consistent in that pursuit. And a lot of people do find that approach very attractive, just like a lot of people find Godard's similar tactics attractive, or praise something like Enter The Void for technical innovation (for the record, I'm not making any suggestions of relative artistic worth here); while a lot of other people just see wilful provocation or showing off, or a hankering for attention. While it's true that Korine has occasionally stated a preference for disturbing imagery (particularly in connection with Trash Humpers), even that derives from the same desire to show something previously unseen, and if he is to be properly criticized, I think it's that desire in itself that should be questioned, instead of whether a kid in a bathtub full of shit is repulsive or not.

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Re: Harmony Korine

#86 Post by criterion10 » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:15 pm

First clip from Spring Breakers

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Re: Harmony Korine

#87 Post by Kellen » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:16 pm


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Re: Harmony Korine

#88 Post by criterion10 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:25 pm

Kellen wrote:Playlist review
Was just about to post that myself :wink:

I'm personally really looking forward to this one. I've said before how much I love Gummo, and I think and hope that Spring Breakers is going something radically different and exciting from Korine. A lot of twitter reactions have been very positive towards the film, some saying it's the best of the festival, others expressing how long the line was while waiting to get in to the screening.

The film also got picked up for distribution by Annapurna Pictures

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Re: Harmony Korine

#89 Post by Kellen » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:50 pm

I too am a fan of Gummo. I don't love Harmony but I don't hate him either; I think he's an interesting filmmaker to say the least.

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#90 Post by knives » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:55 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:Well that answers that question - there's no way that some piece of Harmony Korine garbage (just an educated guess based on his entire body of work leading up to it) and that Charlie Sheen movie are going to be CC releases [snipped from here]
Of course that's just your opinion. Korine is a major figure whether you like him or not (I like his work for the most part) and if I remember correctly they have a good working relationship with Coppola.

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#91 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:14 pm

Since when is he a major figure? He's quite frankly critically disliked - this latest film has 64% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is first 'fresh' writing/directing effort to date. He has a few vocal critical defenders, a ton of critics who are lukewarm on him, and the rest can't stand his work. Even Lena Dunham made a largely well-received film - Korine still hasn't done that in the slightest.
Last edited by mfunk9786 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#92 Post by criterion10 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:52 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:Since when is he a major figure? He's quite frankly critically disliked - this latest film has 64% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is first 'fresh' writing/directing effort to date. He has a few vocal critical defenders, a ton of critics who are lukewarm on him, and the rest can't stand his work. Even Lena Dunham made a largely well-received film - Korine still hasn't done that in the slightest.
Korine definitely has a major cult following (after his masterpiece Gummo, I'm personally someone who always keeps an eye out for his latest work). Many of those praising his films include notable directors such as Werner Herzog and Bernardo Bertolucci. Spring Breakers not only competed in Venice for the Golden Lion last year, but also screened in TIFF. There are numerous press conferences of him at these festivals promoting the film. And let's not forget the fact that his early works like Kids (wrote the screenplay) and Gummo were rather controversial and generated much notoriety among film goers. (Has anyone seen those classic Letterman interviews where he promotes those films?) So, while his films may not be particularly well-received, I'd definitely say he is a major figure with a significant cult following.

Personally, I can't picture Criterion going for something like Spring Breakers, although I'd love to see them do Gummo. There isn't any real reason to speculate about this in the first place, considering I doubt they even have a deal with A24. Plus, in this case, I believe A24 is only the distributor, while Annapurna Pictures holds the North American rights.

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#93 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:39 am

criterion10 wrote:his masterpiece Gummo
You mean the opening credit sequence? Yeah, really interesting stuff - great choice of music, interesting photography, promising all around.

Surely you can't mean that whole dreadful film? Right? :shock:

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#94 Post by knives » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:40 am

I have to agree with him though I personally find Julien Donkey-Boy his best film.

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#95 Post by criterion10 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:44 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:You mean the opening credit sequence? Yeah, really interesting stuff - great choice of music, interesting photography, promising all around.

Surely you can't mean that whole dreadful film? Right? :shock:
I guess Gummo is just one of those films we will have to disagree on. I personally love it and the way Korine establishes his own form of narrative that the film will follow. I can understand that it's not for everyone, but to me it is a truly breathtaking, original work of art. It certainly would be a great candidate for a Criterion release.

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#96 Post by swo17 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:07 pm

I'll grant you breathtaking, original, and work. But art?

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#97 Post by Matt » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:15 pm

I don't care much for most of what's filmed, but the way it's filmed (by the late, peerless Jean-Yves Escoffier) is art. I feel pretty much the same way about Julien Donkey-Boy and its use of DV.

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#98 Post by criterion10 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:19 pm

swo17 wrote:I'll grant you breathtaking, original, and work. But art?
LOL. I know that I'm really battling uphill whenever I try to defend Gummo, but I will always stand by that film as one of my favorites. I don't wish to turn this thread into a discussion of the film, but I will link to a review that I wrote on Letterboxd.
Matt wrote:I don't care much for most of what's filmed, but the way it's filmed (by the late, peerless Jean-Yves Escoffier) is art. I feel pretty much the same way about Julien Donkey-Boy and its use of DV.
See, I would make an argument against Julien Donkey-Boy and its use of DV. I still like the film, but it is slightly flawed to me. Gummo's cinematography is gorgeous though (gotta love Jean-Yves).

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#99 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:24 pm

swo17 wrote:I'll grant you breathtaking, original, and work. But art?
Weren't you this forum's biggest supporter of that film?

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#100 Post by Matt » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:25 pm

JDB absolutely revels in the flaws of DV, which what makes it beautiful to me (just as I love lens flares and grainy 8mm). But yeah, it's a complete 180 from Escoffier's glowing work.

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