The first American film made in accordance with the rules of Dogme 95, Julien Donkey-boy is Korine’s typically idiosyncratic take on the dysfunctional-family drama. Untreated schizophrenic Julien (Ewen Bremner) lives with his pregnant sister Pearl (Chloë Sevigny, then the director’s partner and muse), brother Chris, and domineering Father (Werner Herzog).
Told from Julien’s unreliable perspective, the characters and relationships emerge slowly in affirmation of Tolstoy’s maxim regarding unhappy families – Father’s haranguing of his offspring is tragicomic, while Pearl’s baby may have been fathered by Julien. And yet, while his family life follows its own bizarre rhythm, and Julien’s interactions with the everyday world are fraught with potential disaster, Korine the humanist manages to find moments of poetry and beauty in the most unlikely of circumstances.
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.