Monday, 22 April 2019

admiring the artistry of harmony korine

April 22, 2019 0 Comments
(image found via pinterest)
The hype was fuelled in 1995. Aside from Bill Clinton's presidency, the OJ Simpson trials, James Bond's return to Hollywood, the world of independent film would be introduced to the cinematic prodigy Harmony Korine, who as a young teenager was discovered by photographer Larry Clark whilst skating in Washington Square Park. At this point, the auteur had just dropped out of Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (NYU) in hopes to make a living off of professional skateboarding. Following the footsteps of former, ambitious creatives, structured academia appeared limiting to his creative abilities. Clark acknowledging this sentiment and impressed by his visions of pushing the boundaries of cinema requested Korine pen a script to display his talent as an aspiring screenwriter and director. The result of this demand was a cult classic film about the dangers of promiscuity, AIDS, and grungy teen skaters. The cult classic was named Kids. Through the release of Kids, Korine managed to grab the attention of prominent individuals within the industry. Praised by legendary film critic Roger Ebert, and directors like Gus Van Sant and Werner Herzog, it was clear that the young skater would be an auteur in the making; however, much like current hipster credentials lacking in social agency, influential praise would not be enough to please general audiences, most of whom were disgusted by the film's "shallow" depiction of 90s youth culture. Labeled as child pornography by outraged parents and mainstream media news outlets, the film was labeled a raunchy NC-17 by the MPAA. Contrary to adult efforts to limit the screening of the film, it had grossed $7 million dollars through the summer of 1995, encouraging CNN to place efforts in making clear that it's growing success with youth could be a 'poisonous attack' on teenaged social culture.

Following the rise of Kids, Korine was offered $1 million dollars of production budget to direct his first and own film Gummo (1997) - a movie depicting the mundanity and depravity of the lives of people living in Xenia, Ohio, a town within America left in the shambles of the aftermath of a tornado storm in the 1970s. Once again, the film was a visual portrayal of the extreme and obscure lifestyle of the hidden and unheard sociocultural minorities of youth culture within America. If I can recall, the film could be described as what a former colleague from my freelance journalist days labeled as "white trash" cinema. Which it is important to note, that the term "white trash" carries the weight of negative connotations and that such common description and perception of what is definitive of Korine's work acts as a potential propagator of the extreme, binary criticism of loving or hating his filmography as an observer of art. In debuting as his first film, and his second cinematic project, the screening, and viewership of Gummo introduced the cinematic community to stylistic choices of filmmaking that essentially led to an acknowledgment of Korine as auteur filmmaker. Here was a director who created cinema with the autonomy of a novelist. Here was a director who created cinema with a highly-monitored and controlled execution of the personal vision. Yet here was a director whose fascination with the world was driven by a curiosity of the neglected aspects of society. Who were the people that nobody wanted to see? Who were the people that nobody wanted to listen to? Most importantly, what are the human behaviors that repulse the masses, and why are we willing to neglect and suppress an investigation of vice-ridden decadence. Thus, whilst his unconventional approach to filmmaking and the absurdity of the subject matter he depicted was offputting on a mainstream level, his cultic status was derivative of his controversial originality. Perhaps, it is not a matter of personal tastes or aesthetics, but a matter of the social symptom and influence of an auteur's filmography. 



Described as "the most hated man in art-house cinema", a "winning freak show ring leader", what are we to make of Harmony Korine and his notorious style of provocateur filmmaking? What are we to make of the regressive debauchery, as hipster credentials are supposedly an invalidation of his depiction of decline and degeneracy? Inevitably, his investigation of the polarizing nature of youth and adulthood, virtue and sin, appears to be discursively limited to hipster credentials or overbearing commentary from pretentious cinephiles and film studies academics, but it appears that his artistic liberty is suppressed by forces of both "high" and "low" art. It appears that his work has suffocated in being appreciated by what can be considered a "niche" to both casual moviegoers and hardcore film buffs alike, and I'd like to step aside and question: who is Harmony Korine as an auteur, and how can we better understand the binary state of the critical reception of his filmography throughout the last two decades? The common threat to his artistic liberty is that he drops the eccentricities or quits film-making all together, and while no one is forcing anyone to watch anything made by the auteur since when has it been okay to say the words "stop" or "no" in art? Love him or hate him, he seems the type to want to continue expressing his vision through a visual manifestation of his life experiences and a community of outcasts he assumingly identifies with or is enticed by. It's been two decades since his cinematic prime, and though his name is scarcely mentioned, Korine still manages to maintain his "niche" and dedicated fanbase of film enthusiasts, artistic outcasts, and all sorts of other people enticed by the madness and chaotic depiction of youth culture in his films. 



Thursday, 28 March 2019

a little less to give each time we fall

March 28, 2019 0 Comments
(gif found via pinterest)
When you looked me in the eyes all perplexed and puzzled, half engaged and enthused, you looked at me as if time could stop at any minute. And that if it were to slowly escape from the palm of our hands we'd spend the rest of our lives gazing at each other absorbing every inch of beauty and pain, love and loss, all the wisdom and misery we had built into each other back into the heavens to be forgotten. Back into the heavens to be saved from our sense of humanity, and back into the heavens to be protected from the realism that had dragged us down into the dust and mud. Down into some form of unrequited love masked as a friendship.

When you looked me in the eyes as a last resort, I loved you too much to even bother. I loved you too much to even care. I loved you too much that if losing myself in you meant indulging in the lunacy of fleeting emotions, I would have been willing to break apart the world just to feel a second of your love. And I would trap that single second of love to replay at the back of my heart and mind, and hold it there forever. Hold it there to preserve an infinite tenderness that I will always have for you. An infinite tenderness that defines how we all have a little less to give each time we fall. How we all have a little less to say each time we allow ourselves to love for another body and soul.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

second thoughts and final words

March 17, 2019 0 Comments
(gif found via tumblr)
I wanted you to kiss me more. I wanted you to know that, but I never told you. I wanted you to take it a step further and to let me feel things that I had never felt before. Cold and unemotional, I wanted you so badly but I was too afraid to give it to you. I know that's the reason why you left me hanging dry and hopeless. I know that's the reason why you never bothered to reach out to me again a second time. I know that's the reason why you thought I was a waste of all those hours of your life. Too much to deal with for something you wanted so quickly. Too difficult, too silent, too unattainable. I know that's the reason why you thought me a paradoxical complication that you could never bother with a second time. A paradoxical complication that could have been simple and straight to the point if you had played your cards right.

(image found here)
I wish I could tell you not to worry so much when the truth was that there were no deeper thoughts in my heart and mind set in stone for you in the first place. That if you were scared I'd trap you into some numbing state of psychoanalytic vulnerability, that if I were to secure you into a numbing state of undesired responsibility... it would all be nonsensical fiction in your head. I wish I could tell you that there were no misunderstandings that could get in the way of the freedom that you crave - the occasional desire of thoughtless and romantic hedonism I sense you need and want so deeply. I wish I could tell you, but who am I to make you realize all these things when I myself am in a position of youthful uncertainty and naivete - a position of reactionary second thoughts that multiply by inevitable revelations I have been challenged to deal with these past few months on my own.
(image found here)
And come to think of it, I understood what you were trying to say to me. And come to think of it, maybe it's true that "sometimes you just need to get fucked" to get through a hard day. And come to think of it, maybe I never truly liked you enough anyway. And come to think of it, maybe it wasn't so wrong of me to refuse to give anything deeper than desire. Deeper than what you gave me. And what you gave me was nothing more but confusion laced into lust. And what you gave me was nothing more but a mind game to deal with from an imaginary distance. And what you gave me was another lesson to keep in heart and mind, that if you speak more than you listen, speak more than you do, that in the end "the rest is rust and stardust". You're something worth forgetting even if it's not what the heart and imagination asks for.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

what makes a woman

March 10, 2019 0 Comments
(image found here)
We are not delicate, fragile little things meant to be pampered and protected. We are not little, broken china dolls waiting to be fixed and mended. We are not clueless wanderers at midnight looking for a quick fix and helpless moments of intoxication. We are not the malleable kind of women you keep to mold and bend and shape and twist and distort. Most definitely not the kind of women to take the pointless form of whatever desire you wish for us to be, whatever dry assumption you think of us to be, or whatever complication you wish for us to deal with - an overbearing and burdensome extension of your own life that now becomes a part of mine. And I can help you deal with all the trauma and pain, and I can sit by your side to listen to you mindlessly doze away for hours, to sit in the awkwardness of silence for hours, and to gaze at you lovingly and softly and patiently and calmly, but we must have you know that we are not the kind of women to own and to be owned. We must have you know that we are not the kind of women to sit and weep over a potential lost cause. That we are not the kind of women to fall in love with words faster than actions.

We will not sit, we will not stand, we will not bow down in desperation. Instead of waiting behind to be loved, we move forward to be loved by focusing on our own betterment, our own dreams, and our own lives. We learn that to love can mean finding contentment in solitude. We learn that to love can mean accepting the absolute nature of our imperfections. We learn that to love and to be loved can act as segregated agencies beyond the cohesivity we tend to impose upon these languages of kindness. We learn that the unexplainable nature of desire, it's agonizing ambiguity, it's painstaking unpredictability, the way it borders between love and lust, while they are the things we choose to live for represent less than a fraction of the feminine experience. We learn to only give as much as you receive. We learn to only open up our hearts and minds to those who stick to their own words. We learn that affection isn't the only response to attention.

We learn that there's more to being a woman than neutrality and constant reciprocation, and that it's okay to hone our sense of intuition, and that's it's okay to be divisive, or reactionary, or sentimental,  or disagreeable. That it's okay to be the things least expected or most expected of us. That to not fit into a specific standard, and to embrace your inability to do so can make for an interesting character. That to choose to exist as a predictable force is just as acceptable as unconventionality. That to be anything and everything we want or choose to be is an ideal we should strive for, and that we should acknowledge the pointlessness of trying to be defined by the words and actions of others. That the extent of our value is not so much molded by the external but a deeper process of internalized reflection. That as women, we should learn to take advantage of our constant state of performativity rather than rejecting it. That as a woman, we should learn to be the ones to dictate our own sense of selves and our own place in life. That as a woman, what everyone else around you engages in should be their own business. That feminine intervention is less of necessity than we have been brought up to believe. That as a woman, we should learn to love ourselves before expecting to be loved by others.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

the theory of the young girl

October 31, 2017 0 Comments

I'm looking for someone who understands what it means to be a girl. Who understands the way we think and breathe and dream and love and prosper in all our beauty and youth. Who understands the way we are imprisoned by our own idealism and naivete. How we learn to suffer through a numbing silence when we are told to shut up and stay static.  How we can never truly know who we are because in order to be a safe shot you would need to have your fate decided by a million other people. The way we learn to care by giving our all, and having to ask for nothing in return. The way our minds can explode into this tipping point of certainty to repressive doubt. Most especially, the way we are taught to love when we only want to love ourselves. 

I'm looking for someone who understands that there is no such thing as the mystery of the young girl.  That maybe you think of us as this cosmic enigma, when all we really learn to be are sirens simply at sea waiting to become a piece of emotional baggage. It's hard to be a young girl because you can't escape the fact that young girls are brought up to be a lost cause. We want to be heard. We want to be spoken to. We want to be someone else's focus of attention. We want all these things at once in order to survive, and the only cure to sustaining our enigmatic state is to know less about the way the world works. The more you know, the more you realize that a young girl should be her own object of desire.

Monday, 30 October 2017

you bring in the worst in me

October 30, 2017 0 Comments

A piece of prose inspired by On the Road and Lolita from 2015:
He should’ve seen from the look in my eyes what was missing, because the only thing that could set me free was the existence of his madness. His brilliant, burning madness that pushed me straight into a nomadic tipping point and spiraled into a frenzy of unconscious wandering.

If one day he felt that Brooklyn had nothing left for him – unsurprised by the ironic kitsch – he’d flee to Nevada in an instant. I’d follow him. I’d follow him to the farthest horizon reaching Michigan. I’d follow him from Michigan to Iowa and he’d tell me that I had gone too far this time. Too far from home, and too far from reality. Take me home. He’d cry to take me home, but I’d always respond by telling him that there was nothing to look back to because we had nothing much to lose, and maybe he’d respond by telling me that I was right and he was wrong. Elias never admitted he was wrong. Though when he did, I could remember falling in love with everything he had to say faster than reading the memoirs of road dogs and degenerates from the past. The failed, homeless poets, who never made a penny in and out of their existence, who had to forget about fading away into obscurity because there was nothing obscure to fade into in the first place. He was an embodiment of the many romantic souls before him, but he was no forgettable presence like the rest of them. Everything I did was for Elias. Everything I loved was for Elias.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

five reasons why i love jane birkin

October 29, 2017 0 Comments

1. "My mother was right: When you've got nothing left, all you can do is get into silk underwear and start reading Proust." 

I've never read anything written by Proust, so who am I to even allude to this? In my defense however, I can relate to using the mysterious powers of literature to alleviate the emptiness in your heart. Jane Birkin is right to state the importance of reading when you're in an unknown position in life. 

2. Mixing the masculine and the feminine as a means of staying true to yourself while kick starting a style revolution .  

Alexa Chung totally got it right. Jane Birkin pioneered this tomboy aesthetic that we currently refer to as the Parisian Chic style where as a woman dressing like a boy and acting like a girl - as Chung put it bluntly - is suddenly the definition of cool. Who says that comfort can't be stylish?

3. She has the quintessential designer bag named after her. Grace Kelly may have one too, but name me a "brand-whore" who has never aspired to own a Birkin bag of her own.

The birth of the Birkin bag is one of the most poetic and serendipitous moments of Birkin's biography. If you don't know this story, search it up.

4. "But who wants an easy life? It's boring!"

Everything good in this life is all hard work. We spend most of our youth wasted on trying to look happy, as it is much easier than actually trying to be happy. Jane Birkin understands that you lose more tying to play it safe, and that you earn more trying to take a risk. As my boomer dad often says, "This generation is soft, and somebody got to do something about it!".

5. There's a beautiful soul behind a beautiful face. She's a woman who chooses to be more than her youthful looks. 

I'm always let down by the fact that at one point in my life, I will never look as put together as I will in between the ages of eighteen and twenty-seven (give or take a few more years). I admit defeat. I have succumbed to the superficial. Looks matter to me as they do to everyone else. I just need someone to tell me that feeling this way is inevitable, as I'm often told that youth overestimate the hours of their prime more often than they underestimate the timeline of their invincibility. But Jane Birkin shows me another side of looking at life, where you have many more years to set yourself apart from everyone else than just in your youth. Abandon the live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse motto. 

Friday, 27 October 2017

why falling in love with the past sucks

October 27, 2017 0 Comments

Anyone can think of the one thing they want but can't have, that itching thought in the back of their mind that has been pushed away by the compromises of reality. In my case, I've been caught under the allure of the sixties dream. The worst form of idealization - the impossible. The thought of replicating roadtrip novel cliches, and letting the art you love define you. Finding myself inspired by a generation I may not even understand, and the desire to look for something meaningful from the past has left me nowhere but daydreaming in dismal directions, letting my mind wonder when the time will come that I can have my sixties Parisian it-girl moment and become Jane Birkin 2.0 in the making. 

In the 21st century, there's madness behind the idealization of the unattainable. It's pitiful. Absolutely pitiful to want what you can't have. I guess everything comes down to living in an era fixated on the instantaneous consumption of everything. The modern era is all about taking and taking and no more giving and giving. When you're surrounded by so many options in your everyday life, it'll come to the point where you'll just keep wanting more of what you can't have. All because of this stupid mentality of the moment. Not living in the moment, but rather wanting everything all at once in the moment. Doesn't it suck to have a million options, when you can't even get what you want? When you have been fed the lie that you can do anything in life only to be led to the disappointment that is imagination. Which in other words, imagination is what keeps you alive from the truth. Imagination transcends the indulgences of reality, but imagination directs you towards the idle road.