Friday, October 1, 2010

Trash Humpers

Harmony Korine. This is a director of a certain film. The type of film that appeals to few people. I admit to having watched most of Korine's films. But, I have never enjoyed the experience. His films are disturbed, dark, sickening, and downright unpleasant. But, I have to respect an artist for creating such emotion through film. I have seen three of the four films directed by Korine. The nauseating Julian Donkey Boy, the far too dark Gummo, and now the haunting Trash Humpers. What is Korine creating?

One could suggest a new form of trash art. The type of art that breaks down all expectations. Removes all societal views of beauty and meaning. Dismantles everything we want to believe and re-creates something new. Is new good? Or, is new a term used for something too far removed from mainstream? Well, in the case of Trash Humpers, this film is too far removed from mainstream. I can't imagine most people sitting through this film.

Trash Humpers follows four inbred citizens somewhere on the back roads of Nashville. These four people spend their evenings destroying all they get their hands on- televisions, radios, light bulbs, etc. Their nature is to destroy. Also, they spend a lot of time fixating on sex- hand jobs to corn, oral sex to leaves, and humping trash cans in alley ways. What is the meaning of this behavior? Does Korine want us to judge these people? To question our own sense of morality and social norms?

The films wanders, lost, for the first hour. We watch disturbing scene after disturbing scene: a child show people how to suffocate a baby, a grown up showing a child how to hide razor blades in apples, drugged up poets reciting nonsense, two murders, and a series of screeching sounds from the clan of "trash humpers." This film will assault all senses.

The last twenty minutes begins a new chapter for the film- a heart. The one creating the film finally speaks his thoughts. He talks of living in a world with too many rules. Of creating his own set of rules. Of not playing the "game" as one is expected. The camera shows the homes of some random street and the man says "I will live long past these people because I am free." There is something heart warming about this sentiment. The idea of death caused by restraint of the spirit.

The film is shot on a hand held camera. VHS style, at that. The film has a home movie quality to it. This can be bothersome to many people. But, I enjoyed the simplicity of the filming. Created a real sense of possibility to the film. A real idea of Americana. The reality show is such a success, it makes perfect sense for these people to think they have just as much a right as the rest of the world to be watched.

This film is only for those who have been able to watch Korine's other films. I don't suggest one go into a Korine experience with Trash Humpers as the first. You'll regret it.


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