Harmony Korine, writer of Kids is back with the feature film Spring Breakers, starring Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez and James Franco. The film is about four bored college girls on spring break after robbing a restaurant to pay for their fun. They soon get mixed up with a gangster [Franco] who promises them a world of excitement. The film opens March 15 and premiered in Toronto and Venice with a lot of buzz. Indiewire lists it as the number one indie to see this month.
Korine came on the film scene early when he was just 18 and professionally skateboarding. He met photographer Larry Clark in Washington Square Park in NYC and wrote Kids for Clark to direct. The film has a NC-17 rating which at the time of release, affected it’s box office but it’s since found a cult following.
An amoral, HIV-positive skateboarder is on a mission to deflower as many virgins as possible with an addle-brained theory that popping cherries will protect him from the virus. His ex-lover who contracted the disease rushes to save his next target from her same fate.
Roger Ebert interviewed Korine during the film’s release in 1995 and asked him if he lived the life he portrayed in Kids.
Yeah, I’ve pretty much been witness to most of the stuff. I mean, all the characters in the movie were based on kids I knew. I wrote it specifically for the people that are in the movie. I mean, it’s fictionalized obviously, I made it up, but it’s all based on stuff…I don’t think this is representative of like, all teenagers. I just think like, this is a small segment. But at the same time it’s like I think this is taking place everywhere. I do think that kids are living like this wherever you go, even in rural areas across America, middle America, anywhere. Like even here in France, we invited some 15-year-old skateboard kids from the beach to see the movie, and afterwards they went, like, ‘Dis ees my favorite movie. Dis ees my life’.
Ebert talked to viewers of the film after the screening and although they knew the characters were actors, it disturbed them because the film was shot and felt like a documentary. Korine admitted he wanted it to feel like a day in the life of…leaving the audience with their own thoughts and not making a moral point out of the story.
I wanted to make a movie and I wanted it to be like you’re just looking at a picture – like there’s no judgment. Because what I hate is all the crap that comes out of Hollywood right now. It’s belittling to the audience. They tell you exactly what to think. They pound you over the head with these messages and then there’s nothing left. There’s no margin of the undefined; it’s all there for you. In all my favorite films there’s always something missing. Something to make me curious. I wanted to do that with Kids. I think one of the reasons why everyone’s so angry is because it doesn’t give you a definitive YES or NO — this is bad, this is good. If you have any kind of sense you’ll take away some kind of message, but if you can’t see past the shock, you’re not going to get anything.
Harmony Korine is the writer and director of Spring Breakers, in theaters March 15. He can also be seen acting in Stoker, which opens today.