Thursday, October 1, 2009

Harmony Korine's "Trash Humpers"

So Harmony finally released his latest movie "Trash Humpers" and it started with row after row cackling at these “old people” humping trash cans, tree branches and bags of trash. It slowly subsided into “Ohs” and prolonged silence cut through by the “HNEE HNEE HNEE” laughter of the film’s cameraman. “What happened was I grew up really close and now I live really close where we filmed it in,” Korine said at the press conference afterwards. Another remarkable feat would come from not a single person, at least by some standards, walking out. The further empetus for Humpers came from walking his dog through the back alleys and streets that turn into a sort of disturbing playground rewound in VHS. “Sometimes when I walk through these alleys, they would resemble humans to me by the way they were laying or had fallen on the ground. And I don’t know what happened–I sort of imagined what it’d be like to hump them,” he said.
In essence, Humpers plays as part childhood memory distorted by god only knows what else Korine has done in his life. But it also acts in a lesson much parodied in Antichrist discussion: that chaos reigns. Here, elderly peepers that “seemed like they lived in the shadows” wander around drinking wine and repeating mantras like “Take it, take it, don’t fake it, fake it!”
Richard Peña asked Korine if he had intentionally thought of “horror icons” like Freddie Kruger or other Slasher Killers when putting the Humpers in these elderly masks.
“I wasn’t consciouslly referencing any of those movies or thinking about them…There’s something strange to me about seeing people with the same face,” he said,
The inevitable question of how this began almost seems natural considering how Korine may function: what began as a photography project taking on low-fi undertones developed into a film to be shot instantly. It is magical to hear that the project only started four months ago and has just shown at the Toronto International Film Festival and now New York. In fact, it almost plays as an example of “How to make your auteur cinema…if your name is Harmony.”
On whether or not this is a film: ” In some ways I don’t even want to call it a movie, and I’ll be the first to say it. I wanted to make something that was more like an aritifact, something that was unearthed. Maybe imagine it was buried in a ditch somewhere.
On the tape which inspired Trash Humpers: “Someone came up and handed me a video tape a little while ago and told me to watch it. Usually I throw this stuff away because I’m scared to look at it, but this one I kept and waited a couple of months. My wife was there with her friend and told me to put a movie on. As a joke, I put this tape in. What I saw was just mainly this kids driving around, punching each other, playing tuba, driving and screaming at each other. Just things that were seemingly mundane. They both started yelling at me to take it off, and I asked them why. They said, because someone is going to get murdered. I thought this was a strange reaction for them to have, but…I thought it was an interesting idea and a template to make the kind of movie like that…There might be the influence around the edges, but I was trying to devote myself purely to the honesty of making a feature film an artifact.”
On shooting: “It would just be a moment and a moment and a moment–early on we decided we would be very military. Pretty much the way you see it, even in the order, is the way it was shot.”

On changing how films are made: “The experience I had with my last movie was really terrible, the making of it was great but everything surrounding it was awful: how long it took, how frustrating the process was. Movies don’t need to change but the way in which films are made is too slow, too inhibiting, costs too much money. It seems to be in opposition to experimentation. I wanted to get to the point where I could have an idea, like a painter would and could quickly paint. I wanted to make films as quickly as I could paint them. So I had this idea, I had these friends around me and this location.. I wanted to make films as quickly as I could think of them. I had this idea…I did very little prep. Once I took the photos and I figured out…the whole shoot was a little over 2 weeks. we were out there wandering around like that. we would walk through tunnels, under bridges and through swamps.”

On not “having a script,” yet a rather lengthy soliloquy that “defines” Trash Humpers: “I’m an American filmmaker trying to make american movies in a very specific way. I felt like tht characer was nothing too deep or some kind of commentary on that world. It’s something I see every day and sometimes I feel that way. But at the same time, I’m not going to say that’s me or someone else pretending to be me.”
*via Current

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