October 2, 2009

NYFF '09 PODCAST: Harmony Korine

TRASH HUMPERS director Harmony Korine

Since first making his name as the screenwriter of Larry Clark's Kids, Harmony Korine has been slapped with the provocateur label for directing such oddball films as Gummo, julien donkey-boy, and last year's Mister Lonely, all of which are filled with subversive imagery, off-kilter characters, and confrontational moments that are unclear whether they're meant to be laughed with or cringed at. Korine's latest is the as-yet-undistributed curio Trash Humpers, which screens at the 2009 New York Film Festival:

The title is to be taken literally. Harmony Korine revisits the backwater horrors of Gummo, this time with a cruddy, bargain-basement form to match the degraded content. The episodic tale of a band of cretins (among them a masked and wigged Harmony and Rachel Korine) who go around brutalizing dolls, molesting plant life, and—yes—rubbing up against garbage cans, Trash Humpers suggests an exhumed underground movie, or a new form of freak-folk art. Among the parade of abjections: pancakes with dish soap, gay jokes without punchlines, Eng and Chang sock puppets. But then—a sweet lullaby to make it all better. Can something so regressive also mark the maturing of an artist? More than a prank, this is Korine's purest film yet: a work of jolting humor, true ugliness, and unexpected pathos.

Sitting down with Korine today before his final NYFF screening, I asked the Nashville-based filmmaker about his eccentric father, the strangest VHS tape he's ever found, the dream project he'd like to make, and whether he takes pleasure in acting out the nihilistic fantasies of a "garbage fucker."

To listen to the podcast, click here. (18:28)

Podcast Music (per Harmony's request)
INTRO: Al Jolson, "Just One of Those Things"
OUTRO: Al Jolson, "If I Only Had a Match"

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Posted by ahillis at October 2, 2009 3:42 PM