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Gummo

Director:  Harmony Korine
Year Released:  1997
Rating:  2.0

It's become passe to either completely trash this as being either eclectic nonsense or praise it for its unbridled, groundbreaking brilliance - I'm more interested in maintaining middle ground. This presents a fine challenge to amateurs (me) and professionals alike, as it is a sophomoric but pointed assault on mental degeneration and tragedy. Korine's film is essentially video art, like the kind you see at the Museum of Modern Art or the Guggenheim in NYC, with various images overlapping or projected over each other in creative combinations (it reminds me of Ken Jacobs or Anger a bit). But unlike the aforementioned masters, Korine is too obsessed with sick jokes and 'freaks' and perverts and bizarre imagery - art as trash. Greater minds and talents have already tackled the concept of cinematic deconstruction - Godard and Herzog, to name two - and Korine is trying so desperately to be like them: a pioneer, a visionary, a tongue-in-cheek black humor (of the deepest black) maven. What he has yet to realize is that, no matter how profound your message or how deep the allegories, you still have to convince your audience that what you have to say is important, without taunting them. It's a come-and-get-it assault on the industry that isn't listening, a big middle finger to 'standard' cinema, an intentional bomb from a loopy, self-centered kid.

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