ALL KORINE'S TRANSGRESSIONS
Domenico Monetti / Venice Film Festival Review / September 7, 1999
Harmony Korine's next film is halfway between a snuff movie and Buster Keaton. The 25-year-old director of Gummo launches a new provocation: "I go around provoking passers-by, trying to start a fight while the video camera follows me and films everything. It's very brutal - I've already broken a collar bone and been arrested. The punches and kicks are all real, it's one of the most disgusting things you'll ever see. I wanted to push humour to extreme limits to demonstrate that there's a tragic component in everything."
Meeting Harmony Korine has the same shocking effect as seeing one of his films. Direct, sincere and disturbing. But his eyes aren't without a future, but instead are dazzling and full of energy. Like all difficult characters, he denies the past: "I wrote Kids when I was 18 for the director Larry Clark, a person I'm completely indifferent about," he affirms. "However, Kids permitted me to make my directorial debut: Gummo, my first deconstruction of cinema." Harmony's got a red tattoo of an upside down pitchfork on his right hand: "It's the Devil. My diabolical side," explains the enfant terrible who ran away from home at the age of 16, who suddenly goes on to show the tattoo on his arm: "This, on the other hand, is an Angel. My good side." He raises his left hand and on his finger is another overturned cross.
Korine's duality doesn't exist and all of his gestures and words are capable of pulling you down: "Even though I was born into a Jewish family, I don't belong to any religion. I'm not an atheist, I believe in a higher power. You have to believe in something, otherwise it would be hard getting out of bed in the morning." Harmony Korine and scandals. An indissoluble link. Gummo provoked a lot of reaction from animal rights people due to the violence against cats. julien donkey-boy - Dogma 6 audaciously shows a happy sadistic, schizophrenic and monstrous American family: "Everything you see in the film is real. I had to cut a lot of scenes, because the film was originally six and a half hours long with a lot of heavy scenes." Politically incorrect and pessimistic are accusations which Korine doesn't accept: "It isn't true that my films are nihilistic. I think I'm apolitical. When I work on an idea, my aim is to create something innovative. Cinema is all pretty much the same, with the exception of a few, such as Godard, Fassbinder or Cassavetes. Film is still in its infancy. I make movies because no one has made a film that I'd like to see at the cinema. I'm 25, I've got my own syntax. Why would I relate to films by Scorsese? My myths are David Lynch and Michael Powell."
Harmony Korine stops for a minute and gets his breath back: "Sex and love are only other types of suffering. I think that hope exists, but I haven't found it yet. Maybe it's in film and not in real life. That's why I create another life."