Indie Icons: Harmony Korine
Harmony Korine was born in Bolinas California to Eve and Sol Korine and was raised in Nashville Tennessee. When Korine turned 18 he went to study literature at NYU, he dropped out after only one semester. During this time in New York he met Larry Clark in a Park who later when on to direct Kids. When Korine wrote the screenplay for Kids he was still a teenager. Korine uses a unique and experimental style to display his feelings in film. Korine expertly streams almost unrelated scenes and images together using unique experimental tools for his films to make them seem more realistic. Some of these tools are blackface, mental disorders, poverty and nonprofessional film. Instead of focusing on plot and character development or relationships, Korine uses raw footage and shocking image to convey a feeling. This feeling is felt differently between every viewer which is a difficult thing to do in a work of art. Korine doesn’t necessarily like to put meanings or messages into his films because he believes that these things belittle the audience. Korine talks about his take his take on film “I’m not really so interested in it working on a purely cerebral level. I’m much more concerned with it on an emotional level and that you leave feeling a certain way.” Korine has also experimented with other forms of art such as short films, photography, literature, and also music.
Kids follows a day in the life of teenagers in New York City Kids during the AIDS crisis. The film was seen as controversial by some, however others saw it as a wakeup call to the world about what unrestrained teens do during their daily lives. Korine’s next film Gummo was the first film Korine both wrote and directed. Gummo shows different scenes of kids from a small ohio town which was hit by a tornado, the different almost unrelated scenes depict the hopeless nihilistic lives of these kids. Korine utilizes his strange unique style very well in this film, showing almost disturbing, shocking, and awkard scenes and images to illustrate his feeling. Some of these images include kids hunting cats with bb guns, a brother prostituting out his mentally challenged sister, and also a boy in a rabbit hat in a few different scenes. This film as as well as kids shows younger teens and kids without parental supervision. In kids the only parent shown is only in the film for about 3 minutes and is smoking a cigarette while breastfeeding. This helps convey Korine’s feeling of parental neglect.
Harmony Korine is truly one of the wildest strangest and unique artist of our time. Some see him as controversial and crazy, yet others see him as an artist. His style of filmmaking mimics this because the feeling and what one takes away from his films is ultimately left up to the individual viewers.