Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 318: Fri Nov 18

Gummo (Korine, 1997): Prince Charles Cinema, 12.50pm

This 35mm presentation is on an extended run at the Prince Charles. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Written and directed by Harmony Korine, who wrote Kids, this poetically disjointed narrative (1997) also follows young people engaged in nihilistic activities and has an ambiguous relationship to both documentary and fiction filmmaking—but none of the earlier movie's prurience or condescension. Killing cats is a pastime and source of income for two boys (Jacob Reynolds and Nick Sutton) who sniff a lot of glue in a town identified as Xenia, Ohio. Much of their behavior and the behavior of other people in the movie was surely guided if not predetermined by Korine, yet few of the performers appear to be actors in scripted roles. In one scene a woman (who was previously shown mothering a doll) shaves off her eyebrows. Filling one hand with shaving cream and trying to use the other to keep her bangs out of the way as well as wield a razor, she exhibits a startling absence of intelligence. Crooned ballads and metal music enhance scenes of perversely enchanting power, and a voice-over tells us in gory detail how a tornado devastated Xenia years before, as if to explain the strangely passive violence in a town where everyone's reason for existence seems to be breaking taboos. The director of photography is Jean Yves Escoffier.

Lisa Alspector

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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