Friday, January 23, 2009

mister lonely

earlier this week i viewed the movie "mister lonely" by harmony korine and i was very impressed. not only was it genuinely funny, it was also beautiful. the movie is about an american michael jackson impersonator who is living in paris. he is having a hard time finding people who speak english and finds himself lonely, questioning his identity and thinking about heading back to the states. everything changes while he is doing a gig at a retirement home and meets marilyn monroe who convinces him to come with her back to her beautiful homestead, a Utopian commune for impersonators in a castle nestled in the beautiful french country side. although it has it's dark moments, it seems to be a departure from the intentionally offensive movies previously created by korine. i highly recommend it.

i had almost completely forgotten harmony korine and this movie reignited my curiosity towards the dark character and his limited works. i do believe that korine is one of my favorite directors to date and those of you who think that his social commentary is distasteful, i would disagree, but i would also argue that his originality in imagery and cadence is undeniable. it is not surprising that he names cassavettes, jean luc godard, and werner herzog (who appears in julien donkey-boy and mister lonely) as some of his main influences.

harmony korine has made 4 feature length films: kids, gummo, julien donkey-boy and mister lonely. he also began a short-lived project known as fight harm, directed by david blaine (yes, that david blaine). it was comprised of korine engaging random people in actual street fights. he followed rules of always provoking the fight and continuing until threat of death. korine, who often said he would die for the cinema, hoped to make a cross between a buster keaton vehicle and a snuff film, but after only six fights, he was hospitalized and forced to abandon the project. oof, hardcore. he also wrote the screen play for kent park, which is a seriously twisted movie directed by larry clark (not recommended for the faint of heart).

korine has also published a few books, made a few short stories, made some music videos (including "casper the friendly ghost" by daniel johnston {kids is the first time that i heard a song by daniel johnston}) and a few documentaries. he first gained notoriety at the age of 22 with the movie kids (he wrote the screenplay when he was 19). after julien donkey-boy was finished in 2003, karine practically vanished and although he has never admitted it publicly, his former girlfriend chloe sevigny said in an interview that he was addicted to heroin and methedone and it led to their break up.

of all people, here is what roger ebert said in his review of julien donkey-boy, "korine, who at 25 is one of the most untamed new directors, belongs on the list with godard, cassavettes, herzog, warhol, tarkovsky, brakhage and others who smash conventional movies and reassemble the pieces... harmony korine is the real thing, an innovative and gifted filmmaker whose work forces us to see on his terms." i couldn't agree more.

i believe that harmony korine is truly one of the greatest directors and i look forward to amazing work from him in the future. david letterman is out of touch asshole, but here is a great interview with harmony korine. at the end he really sticks it to him. sorry about the poor quality, but believe me, it is highly entertaining and worth viewing.

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