SPRING BREAKERS: VARIETY REVIEW

Variety have posted the first review of “Spring Breakers”, click here to read it or read below:

Korine revamps teen dream
By ANTHONY KAUFMAN

Has Harmony Korine, the enfant terrible who wrote “Kids,” and directed “Julian Donkey-Boy” and “Gummo,” grown up?

With his latest film, “Spring Breakers” — premiering in Venice on Sept. 5 — the provocative filmmaker has tackled his most ambitious and possibly most commercial project to date: A girls-gone-wild Florida-s et adventure, starring James Franco and former Disney Channel stalwarts Selena Gomez (“Wizards of Waverly Place”), Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical”) and ABC Family vet Ashley Benson (“Pretty Little Liars”).

“Technically, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says the filmmaker, now 39. “We had 12 cameras break; cranes collapsing; boats sinking; at some points, there would be more paparazzi than crew members; you’d have news helicopters entering the shot; 1,000 screaming teenagers with signs trying to destroy the campers — every day felt like some mild form of warfare.”

Korine, who shot on 35mm film, added that he wanted huge production values. “I wanted things to look and feel incredible. It would have been much easier if I didn’t have ambition.”

The last time Korine was on the festival circuit, in 2009, he was promoting a far different project. Called “Trash Humpers,” the 78-minute experimental movie, shot entirely on a VHS camcorder, chronicled the creepy escapades of a family of masked maniacs engaged in objectionable, lewd or just plain weird behavior, including yes, humping garbage. “It was a provocation,” Korine admits.

But with “Spring Breakers,” it wasn’t just about creating something “shocking or seductive,” as he says, referring to the original image that sparked the idea of teenage girls in bikinis, wearing ski masks and carrying guns. “This film is different from anything I’ve done,” he explains. “It’s the narrative: It’s very liquid and boozy, and freed up. It’s more like a pop poem.”

Another big difference is the cast, of course. With Disney Channel icon Gomez in one of the key roles, along with “High School Musical’s” Hudgens, the film is drawing far more attention than Korine’s previous work, increasing the stakes for the filmmaker.

For Gomez, the more risque project also presents a potential hazard.

“Obviously, I have a younger generation (of fans), and I really appreciate that,” says the 22-year-old actress, who got her start on “Barney & Friends.” “I want to respect that and I still want to do things that will earn me that respect. But I also want to do things that challenge me and put me out of my element.”

Korine had always wanted Gomez and the other young female stars for the movie. “I liked the idea of having these girls in the film specifically,” he says. “They are of this pop culture, and that added a whole new element that was exciting for me.”

Entrusting Korine, a director known for his glue-sniffing, date-raping outcasts, with America’s next top starlets on an indie budget, might appear like a risky move. But the director says, surprisingly, he was fully encouraged by his team, including CAA, which packaged the project.

“There was no lack of confidence (in Korine),” says Muse Films’ Chris Hanley, who has known the director since the mid-’90s, and had been talking to him for two years about exploring, he says, “a more pop, and therefore commercial” side of his aesthetic.

“Even as the intention was to make a pop commercial bikini movie,” continues Hanley, “it has its intelligent side, (which) shows there is an underworld to every seemingly perfect and happy setting. So while it is commercial, it makes you think a lot too — this is something Harmony does very well.”

According to Hanley, the investors were kindred spirits, including former members of the Andy Warhol Factory (“Baby” Jane Holzer) as well as Stella Schnabel, daughter of artist Julian Schnabel, and designer Agnes B., who backed Korine’s 2007 feature “Mister Lonely.”

Korine, himself, is upbeat about the results.

“I can’t wait for people to see it,” he says. “As a filmmaker, I did things I’ve never done before that I’ve always wanted to do, that I couldn’t have done five years ago or 10 years ago. I just didn’t understand moviemaking in this way. This one feels special.”

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FIRST FOOTAGE FROM “SPRING BREAKERS”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48gq3Z30MUA

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“SPRING BREAKERS” ALSO PREMIERING AT TIFF 2012

The Toronto Film Festival, having previously screened films from Harmony Korine before, has announced it will screen his new film “Spring Breakers”. The schedule of the festival is announced on August 21st. We will inform you of showing times when it becomes available. Information from the site:

Director: Harmony Korine
Runtime: 92 minutes
Principal Cast: Selena Gomez, James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Heather Morris
Int. Sales Agent: Kinology
U.S. Sales Agent: Creative Artists Agency (CAA)

James Franco, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens star in the wild new film from perennial provocateur Harmony Korine (Trash Humpers), about four flat-broke co-eds whose spring fling in Florida turns into a booze, drug and violence-fuelled bacchanal.

The overly bright sunshine begins to hurt your eyes. The semi-nude bodies grind in a tequila-fuelled haze. A waft of violence floats through the atmosphere until it dominates the scene, aware of its hold on everything and everyone. You feel all-powerful and totally alone. This is spring break in Florida, captured through the transformative lens of Harmony Korine’s imagination.

Korine’s impressive canon of films poetically chronicles the minor heroics and self-aggran-dizing intensity of marginalians, unseen, ignored and dismissed by a willfully ignorant world. In Spring Breakers, his attention turns to four female co-eds (Ashley Benson, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Rachel Korine) in an unnamed college town. Desperate to hit the beach, but flat broke, they rob a coffee shop with fake weapons, steal a car, head south and start to party hard. Their fun gets rudely interrupted when the cops bust into their apartment and find things young girls should not be enjoying. Locked up with no bail money, they despair until a local petty gangster (James Franco) springs them. Two of the girls stay with him as his entourage and, ultimately, his hitmen; while the other two drop out, exhausted, disoriented and longing to experience that rush of freedom one more time.

Spring Breakers is Korine’s first film since Mister Lonely to feature professional actors. He challenges his impressive young cast in unexpected ways, with long, seemingly improvised takes and a demand for shifting tones of sweetness and menace.

The film lands on the more narratively linear end of Korine’s career and has moments that recall each of his previous films, especially the virtuosic tableaux of Gummo and the agonizing desperation of Mister Lonely. But Spring Breakers also brings a few new tricks to the table, including remarkable shifts in mood and a breathtaking cinematographic confidence; there are signature moments of montage in this film that will influence generations to come.

Harmony Korine thinks in pictures that no one else could even dream up.

Noah Cowan

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“CAPUT” SCREENING IN LA (AUGUST 9)

For more information see the I Heart Comix website.

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BRAIN DEGRAW REFLECTS ON “SSAB SONGS” RECORDING PROCESS

Back in the mid to late ’90s Harmony Korine and Brian DeGraw colllaborated on a one track album entitled “SSAB Songs”. While they were not the only musicians to play on the album (which was commercially released in 1998) they were the driving forces behind the idea. Back in November of 2011, DeGraw spoke to Hillbilly Magazine and reflected on the time spent recording “SSAB Songs”.

Hillbilly : You collaborated some years ago with Harmony Korine on SSAB Songs. Whats your thoughts on the collaborative process?
Brian DeGraw : Those collaborations were done in an interesting time shortly after i moved to NYC from DC. Harmony was someone who i connected with instantly. We met when a mutual friend asked me to go to this recording studio where Harm wanted to make an album of some sort. So he had asked this guy to round up a bunch of musicians to show up there and just work out some sort of jam. It was hilarious. I showed up there…in this dirty basement studio on Allen street that smelled like rotting fish and there were like ten or twelve people in there with Harm and everyone was trying to figure out how to go about this and nothing was really getting done at all and for some reason Harm and I just looked at each other and sort gave each other this nod of affirmation and we sort of just left the place and went off on our own to his place and just jammed for hours and recorded on four track cassette. After that we continued to do that for a few years. We made so many weird recordings….most of which are lost I think. We would go up to his apartment in Gramercy park with broken keyboards and banjos with no strings and bicycle wheels and whatever we could find that made a sound…..and we would just go crazy all night. We did a lot of stuff over the answering machine too….like we would call Bjork and have her sing through the fax while we jammed in the apartment. It was truly cacophonous and beautiful.

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HARMONY KORINE TO DIRECT MUSIC VIDEO(S) FOR RIFF RAFF?

Recently, rapper Riff Raff spoke to Pitchfork about his new ventures and branching out. He also spoke on his new found friendship with director Harmony Korine:

RR: I’m working on the movie situation right now. Me and Harmony Korine are in conjunction doing multiple big activities. He’s going to be doing some of my videos. He’s back. He’s had movies in the past, like Kids and Gummo, that earned him such a big underground following. So for him to come and want to do large, ridiculous things on the big screen with me and Diplo just showed what a genius mind he has. He’s about to be a full-fledged force to be reckoned with.

Pitchfork: How did your relationship with Korine begin?

RR: Somebody wrote me, “Hey, somebody wants you to be in this movie [Spring Breakers]“– I get so many emails every day so I have someone who screens them and says, “Hey, you might want to look at this.” When I finally researched his stuff, I saw he directed Kids and Gummo, and was like, “Oh shit. Damn, is this for me?” Those movies are kind of old, but I knew they were great.

Now I’ve actually met him and seen what kind of person he is: really interesting, innovative. There are a lot of people who are successful and have a lot of money, but you can almost see their limitations because they have these walls around them. Harmony Korine exceeds those walls, and those are the types of people who go on to exceed people’s expectations.

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SPRING BREAKERS TO SCREEN IN COMPETITION AT VENICE

Variety are today reporting that Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” is scheduled to make it’s international debut in competition at the 69th Annual Venice Film Festival. The films in competition are as follows, alternatively you can view them at the festival’s official website:

“To the Wonder,” Terrence Malick (U.S.)
“Something in the Air,” Olivier Assayas (France)
“Outrage: Beyond,” Takeshi Kitano (Japan)
“Fill The Void,” Rama Bursztyn and Yigal Bursztyn (Israel)
“Pieta,” Kim Ki-duk (South Korea)
“Dormant Beauty,” Marco Bellocchio (Italy)
“E’ stato il figlio,” Daniele Cipri (Italy)
“At Any Price,” Ramin Bahrani (U.S., U.K.)
“La cinquieme saison,” Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth (Belgium, Netherlands, France)
“Un giorno speciale, ” Francesca Comencini (Italy)
“Passion,” Brian De Palma (France, Germany)
“Superstar, ” Xavier Giannoli (France, Belgium)
“Spring Breakers,” Harmony Korine (U.S.)
“Thy Womb,” Brillante Mendoza (Philippines)
“Linhas de Wellington,” Valeria Sarmiento (Portugal, France)
“Paradise: Faith,” Ulrich Seidl (Austria, France, Germany)
“Betrayal,” Kirill Serebrennikov (Russia)

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RIFF RAFF & HARMONY KORINE VIDEOED TOGETHER

After some speculation with regards to James Franco’s character in the film “Spring Breakers”, rumours started flying around that upcoming rapper “Riff Raff” was supposed to be in the film and that Franco’s character is based on the character itself of Riff Raff – which Franco has since denied. Regardless of this, Riff Raff recently uploaded a video to his YouTube channel in which Harmony Korine appears on the basketball court with him and his friends. See below:

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DAN COLEN: PIGS AND PIGS AND PIGS

A new paperback book by Harmony Korine is set to go on sale on August 7th 2012 entitled “Dan Colen: Pigs And Pigs And Pigs”. The site Rizzoli USA is stocking it for $60. Amazon has also announced they will stock it, but for a cheaper price of $37.42.

This artist’s book documents Dan Colen’s 2011 exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in New York, as well as his June 2012 Gagosian exhibition in Paris. Drawing from mass media, local environment, and subculture, Dan Colen’s art imbues the ordinary, the disenfranchised, and the tribal with provocative new status. This publication includes over fifty new works, including Colen’s series of Grass, Gum, Confetti, and Stud, with extensive details of the works.

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“GOLD ON THE CEILING” VIDEO SURFACES

Late last year the news that The Black Keys had shot a music video with Harmony Korine was all over the internet and when they finally released an altogether different music video for the same song (“Gold On The Ceiling”), Korine fans were burdened with the fact that this would, yet again, be something by the filmmaker we’d never see.

But alas, thanks to the wonder of YouTube The Black Keys have made the video available for viewing. See below:

For the video, Korine utilises the same technique seen in his 2006 video for Bonnie Prince Billy, ‘No More Workhouse Blues’:

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