When initially shown on the festival circuit, Korine’s directorial debut was greeted with outrage and walkouts, derided and despised by audiences and critics alike; yet it also inspired Gus Van Sant to announce, “Gummo has changed my life”, Bernardo Bertolucci to claim that it had “created a revolution in the language of cinema”, and Werner Herzog to hail the filmmaker as “the future of American cinema.” Thus the template was set for reaction to Korine’s work.
The film itself is a loose narrative of life in a small Midwestern town following a devastating tornado. In a series of vignettes centred mainly on teenage boys Tummler and Solomon, a mirror is held up to the darker facets of America, creating a challenging, frequently disturbing and entirely credible portrait of a crumbling society.
This film is screening as part of Harmony Korine – Breaking Out (April 3rd – 14th). His latest feature, Spring Breakers, opens at the IFI on April 5th.