I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx

Up and Coming Avant Garde: Harmony Korine


by Jason Bigelow
Sept. 12, 2016

The son of documentary filmmaker Sol Korine, throughout the past decade, Harmony has achieved renown in independent film, music and art. He burst on the scene in 1995 - at the age of 22 - with his movie KIDS, which explored the lives of several New York City teenagers growing up in the age of AIDS. He followed this up with the equally controversial cult hits 'Gummo', 'Julien Donkeyboy' and 'Ken Park'. This collection follows his parallel short film career.

Curb Dance (2011): Clad in floppy pink dress and hat, holding a puppet, Korine curb dances in tap shoes over all available surfaces, delivering a dream-like narrative in voice over. The film is dedicated to filmmaker Jonas Mekas and the Anthology Film Archives, and pays tribute to Korine's twin influences of Avant-Garde film and vaudeville.

Act Da Fool came about when Korine was approached by NY Coutiers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, the founders of Proenza Schouler for their first promotional film showcasing their Autumn/Winter 2010 collection. In the words of Hernandez, “Harmony took the elements from our collection of a girl who is both naïve and knowing, very innocent and very American, and created a story based on his setting and experiences.” Given carte blanche, Korine created a film that is more audio/visual poem than advertisement for $550 jeans. A group of young black women representing “the greatest living delinquents” engage in consumption of malt liquor, smoke cigarettes and mug for the camera, bridging the gap between the illusions of high fashion and the profane realness of life.

Snowballs,the second collaboration with Proenza Schouler, follows two mute young women dressed in Navajo inspired costume and headdress as they frolic through the backyards and alley of suburban America, as a high-pitched voice intones poetry. The usage of voice-over in this and Act Da Fool is reminiscent of Terrence Malick's Badland, an admitted influence on Korine.

Playing like a sun-warped version of Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde and taking its title from a Zulu struggle song, Ushmini Wam means “Bring me my machine gun.” Featuring Ninja and Yo-Landi of South African rap group Die Antwoord clad in brightly coloured animal costumes, smoking giant spliffs, firing guns into the air,while on a quest to obtain the “Rolls Royce of Wheelchairs.”

Contributing to vodka maker 42 Below's omnibus film ONEDREAMRUSH, involving 42 filmmakers from across the world each creating a 42 second short film inspired by dreams. Korine's short, entitled Crutchnap, is best described in his own words:

"This was a dream I had. These men are scumbags. They live in the alleyways behind my house. These scumbags live like dogs. They eat rotten food all day. They peep in windows. I love them like I love my parents." Short, effective and to the point.

Mac and Plak (2010) Originally a play “Mac and Plak are the Wonder Twins Deactivated,” written by a then 18-year-old Korine, and looking like a third-generation VHS dub (remember those?) Mac and Plak discuss being the exception to other conjoined twins. Not an easy watch,nor should it be.

Sources:

Act Da Fool -

http://www.ravished-by-illusions.com/post/1127194578/harmony-korine-proenza-schouler

Snowballs -http://mubi.com/topics/harmony-korines-snowballs

Ushmini Wam -http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/sxsw_review_harmony_korines_umshimi_wam_starring_die_antwoord_now_online

Crutchnap-

http://filmmakermagazine.com/4185-cannes-42-belows-one-dream-rush-films-feted/

Mac and Plak

http://www.harmony-korine.com/work/macandplac/

Jason D. Bigelow lives in Europe,where he is  currently watching 1000 films in a year and hunting Soundtracks: He can be found here: http://bloodmania.tumblr.com/archive