HARMONY KORINE INTERVIEW
Author Unknown / Function / April 2005
Function Magazine: So who are some current filmmakers whose work you've been checking out lately?
Harmony Korine: I like Lukas Moodysson and Clint Eastwood but I haven't seen that much stuff to be honest with you. I'm still waiting for Chris Cunningham to make his first feature.
Function: How would you describe your writing process or methodology? Do you generally begin in a similar way each time or does your approach vary?
Korine: No not really. Sometimes I piece together notes I find on my walls of scraps of half ideas I've stolen from neighbours. My process is basically more mangled than most but less then it was in years past.
Function: Where do you find inspiration, in art forms other than film, which has an impact on you creative process? Do you find that your ideas are mostly expressions of your own personal experience, or reactions and commentary on what you see in the world around you?
Korine: Well, it's been more and more difficult these days for me to find inspiration in others, I've tried but I've gotten hurt. I moved into a tree house here in Nashville last year looking for something... but all I got was dead birds in the toilet and a near death experience in a rainstorm. Sometimes my girlfriend will make a joke an I like that... other times I try to focus on my obsessions and if I'm feeling one at the moment then that does the best trick.
Function: What projects do have on the go right now?
Korine: I'm getting ready to film a movie called Mister Lonely. Still working on putting out my fight film and writing a book of jokes, also writing a book of sayings I've found on the walls of handicapped restrooms. I got paid the other day for singing in the lunchroom at a rest stop by my house where some hookers I know sleep and grow mushrooms, but that was more of a lark and less of an official project.
Function: In your Collected Screenplays 1 you wrote: "I am a 'mistakist', and all the work I produce adheres to the tenets attached to the label/movement." This is an extremely interesting approach to filmmaking. Could you explain it in more detail, and tell us if it applies to you current project?
Korine: I'm basically interested in the explosion of things. Like a science project gone awry... all I ever wanted to do was set up the scene and document the explosion... the blood on the wall and the stuff back in the corners that usually gets swept right up without a thought... that's my films I think...accidents...mistakes...life and poetry, whatever you want to call it...making sure to always maintain that perfect margin of the undefined... that perfect novel with pages missing in all the right pages. Yes, this can be 'mistakism'.
Function: In previous interviews you have said that you were inspired by filmmakers like Fassbinder, Godard and Herzog. What is it about these artists and their films that have influenced you so specifically?
Korine: The fonts of their subtitles.
Function: As a director, how would you compare working with professional actors as opposed to people with no acting experience?
Korine: Well, I like non-actors because they are less conscious of the camera and I like professionals because they know Shakespeare, at least some do. It's fun to work with both and sometimes I can't notice the difference unless I'm looking at their teeth and then it becomes painfully obvious.
Function: What's the best shroom trip you've ever had? Most intense visuals?
Korine: When I threw this red-haired girl into the fireplace... not joke. She was skinny too when I looked at her she was all just bones and I told her so. I saw my hands breathe and the music sounded o'so good... I think it was R. Kelly. I always like shrooms, especially when I would take them with my friend the magician, or as he's known to me the magishcock.
Function: In an interview with Werner Herzog you said that "film school is eating the soul of cinema. Filmmaking has become like a process, and it's all garbage". What are ways that young filmmakers can explore cinema as an art from as opposed to a homogenized product?
Korine: You know, maybe that sounds bad. I really have no advice to anyone about anything. Just try hard and maybe you have talent.
Function: You recently were hospitalized and served some jail time as a result of your endeavors making Fight Harm. Pretty extreme shit. Where, if at all, do you draw the line when it comes to following through with your ideas?
Korine: Well I'm not ready to die you so I'd draw the line at death or risk of paralysis. Other than that most stuff to the body heals, it's the risk to brain damage that is more troubling. My mind has had a lot of trauma.
Function: Who do you think the first century has change from the 21st century? and what would you like to see?
Korine: I think prostitution will be legalized in the state of Tennessee. I don't think people's hearts will be as open to authenticity and the prayers of children will huddle on a more superficial plane. I'd like to see our spirits soar and the hippies to get more legit. I'd also like to see the gangsters sing about self doubt like they did in the early days. I'd like America to finally acknowledge Gypsies and Bedouins who established this country and I'd like to spend more time in communes and back lots.
Function: What are your feelings about the political situation in the States? What role do you think artists can or should play in response to it, and does it affect you work?
Korine: Look, it's not great. There are some angry men on the radios these days and if half of what they say is true then we are all doomed. I don't think artists should role play.
Function: Why is it still important to make films and have people gather in theaters and take part in the collective ritual of watching them?
Korine: Because all we want is to be told a story and have sung us a song and to dance that dance... this, is the only true majesty left in us.