In Locarno 76, the Pardo d’onore was rediscovered for Harmony Korine and ‘Gummo’.

Issue 76 Film Festival in Locarno greets in splendor Harmony Korin (1973), former revolutionary child prodigy American cinema and author of anarchic, controversial and confusing cinema; he is given Manor Pardo d’Onorealready attributed in the past, including to two of the director’s inspirations such as Jean-Luc Godard AND Werner Herzoglast supporter Korin since release Gummodebut feature film. A multifaceted talent who has also navigated other multimedia and artistic languages ​​such as video clips, advertising, painting, photography, always impressing with his unmistakable, indirect and radical style.

In addition to the award ceremony, Locarno 76 made it possible to rediscover his free and non-conformist inspiration through the screening of two films selected and presented to the public in cinemas by the director himself: Gummo (1997), still too little known in Italy, e spring Breakers (2013) with James Franco AND Selena Gomezhis most successful film, which this year marks the tenth anniversary of its controversial release, which soon made it a cult film.

Film director in harmony with the nature of the Festival

Thus, the hearty audience of the majestic Piazza Grande pay their respects to the director spring Breakerswith the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to him by a surprise guest, a close friend of his Gaspar Noe, another standard-bearer for visionary and disturbing cinema. On stage, the artistic director of the Festival, John A. Nazzaropresents the Pardo d’onore, a recognition given to individuals “capable of transcending cinematic territories beyond the ordinary”, in the following words:

There are directors who make films only according to established rules, and there are personalities such as Harmony Korin who invent new worlds with every film. This is what we believe independent cinema should be: creative, bold, avant-garde, subversive, anticipatory, at the service of other inventive territories. And in this Harmony Korin was a guiding star.

The director, smiling and excited, still keeping on his mature face the brilliant and sly look of a violent twenty-year-old guy, comments:

Every day I make films, I wake up in the morning and think about how I would strive to work to the limit of my abilities: it is important to know that sometimes fiction itself produces art. I was a kid when I started acting after school, I dedicated my whole life to it, and I really appreciate that I’m here now with this confession, it still makes me feel so young, at least relatively.

“Gummo”, Nietzsche in the slums

Earliest career Korin begins with the most important film in the history of independent film stars and bands, Children (1995) author Larry Clarkwhich he wrote, a gritty realistic and hallucinating Generation X mural set in an alternative New York bush, between drug addiction and promiscuous sex.

WITH Gummo (1997) emerged with corrosive resourcefulness as an aspiring writer in a small-scale budget: an experimental, raw, straight-cut film about a group of bored and troubled teenagers from middle class in the deepest and working America. Once again, a work that shocked critics and viewers with the immoral acts of its main characters, such as killing stray cats (strictly with fictitious stage effects – ed.), sniffing glue, turning a disabled girl into a prostitute, getting achievements by adult.

The cinema is anti-narrative, dirty and prejudiced, not conciliatory, but not unreasonably provocative or painfully licentious, Gummo considers in an interested and restrained position the tragic nature of life in the nihilistic drifts of the end of the millennium, in the tortuous hopeless malaise of youth without parental orientation, in existential boredom without conscription excuses.

In the dilapidated city of Xenia, Ohio, where the film takes place after a tornado flooded the city with material waste and social outcasts, Korin he finds the grotesque in the whimsical, the authentic in the disorder, the truth in the improvisation, the iconoclasm in the abnormal, but also a tenderness and humor that does not share the innocence of its protagonists without directives smoothed over by the eternal return of nothingness.

Independence above all

At the exit from Gummo (presented at the International Critics’ Week at the Venice Film Festival, with a special mention at the FIPRESCI Awards) for a long time, reviewers did their best to trace references to other films and authorial influences, pointing out Diane Arbus, John Cassavetes, Werner Herzog (another newbie fan Korin), but, as the director himself stated, Gummo it was filmed under the slogan of the most liberated originality, opening up other production horizons and using non-classical anti-Hollywood language. And the unusual name is already a tribute to the departure from the system, because Gummo was one of the Marx brothers, who soon broke away from the comedy group to follow other professional paths.

Grainy footage, disjointed editing, centrifugal text: the poetics of breaking artificiality and incoherence (like life itself) explodes in its sincere purity on the screen, also thanks to reliable cooperation, including the translation team, never-before-seen faces wrong and hidden beauty, inspiring presence of indie cinema logo Chloe Sevigny (here, at the beginning of his professional and sentimental communication with Korin) and an enveloping and eclectic musical score from pop To black metal passing through grindcore.

Rebel in a wheelchair

In a conversation with the audience at the Spazio Cinema Forum, the moderator was Manlius Gomaraska AND Gaspar Noe, Harmony Korinwho keeps his politely sarcastic joke and shows up at the meeting in outfits Godarian (sunglasses and cigar) comments on the following: Gummo:

The film has symbolic meaning as the tornado represents the boys’ discomfort; I chose the city of Xenia, although the shooting took place in Nashville, because that weather event had a great impact on the place and on the group skateboarders (always revered sport – ed.), which I liked. Non-professional actors had to be hired for this film because they were more suited to the nature of the work. As for the scandal with which the film was met, I confess that I am not a cat lover (laughs)!

Locarno Film Festival / Ti Press

“Julian Donkey Boy” and the Bikini Rebellion

next movie Julian Donkey-Boy from 1999 a film shot with the technique of the Danish band Dogma 95, based on the story of a schizophrenic boy played by Ewen Bremnerwho lives with his sisterChloe Sevigny) and with fatherWerner Herzog).

Korin during the conversation, he clarifies its concept and its connection with the analogy:

I found the shooting style of Dogma 95 funny, I feel on the same wavelength with Thomas Vinterberg and Lars von Trier, I have a dialogue with them. It was an experiment, I broke some rules by shooting in MiniDv, then moving the frame to 16mm and then to 35mm. I love working with any format, with polaroids and videos, it’s like having different tools in your hands.

As for the most discussed and famous of his films in recent years, spring Breakerswhich follows the adventures of four girls in early spring between high and madness, explains:

In America spring Breakers in Florida it is a rite of passage for 16- and 17-year-olds. I liked the combination of two words in the title. As soon as I began to imagine the adventures of these girls in costume, I got on a plane and immediately went to Florida to write a story. Then it was natural to define the roles of characters imbued with this culture. pop. For me spring Breakers is the development of speech pop.

New waves from Korine

Harmony Korine was not just an underground singer individualists and alienation from cinema. His contribution to all branches of cinema and in general to the still unexplored inclinations of audiovisual art has also been expressed in other areas: he has embodied his unmistakable vision in music videos. sonic Youth, From Cat Power, Will Oldham AND Rihannawrote text for Bjork AND Lana Del Reymade commercial films which are some of the best examples Film about fashion into the digital age, like the one created for Gucci Cruise 2020, where the collection fashion designer Alexander Michael host a lavish circus party freaks.

And the new film, which he will present out of competition at the next Venice Film Festival, is eagerly awaited. Agro Dr1ft. As he specified John A. Nazzaroartistic director film festival in Locarno,

offer Pardo d’onore a Korin it means celebrating the endless forms of cinema.

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