harmony korine is really, really, really hard to like. much of his work is very stark and unapologetic; simply uncomfortable to endure. it can be very unappealing. korine just works on a different plane than most. however, his films do offer something, although to pinpoint what that is is far beyond my grasp. there are moments of illuminated excellence in his career such as kids, which korine wrote at 19, and julien donkey-boy are phenomenal. in addition to his film work, korine has delved into the music videos. they fall in line with his strange vision of the world, creepy and absolutely fucked up.
korine’s first music video (well, the video for “casper” by daniel johnston was never released) was for sonic youth’s “sunday”. the video is very polished and sexualized, with macaulay culkin sticking his tongue out with a girl and licking his lips. it also featues ballerinas doing their thing. korine uses slow motion and fast motion in excess, giving the video a dreamlike ambiance.
korine’s music video directing took a hard turn after the sonic youth video. his next video, bonnie prince billy’s (will oldham) “workhorse”, uses grimy vhs like visuals. it also abandons the slow/fat motion, instead focusing on small half second chucks of video playing backwards and forwards over and over again. it’s really disconcerting, watching the quick movements that are going nowhere. the video features a guy in money sign glasses and a woman in black face. there are some very strange images throughout, including oldham smiling at the camera at the end and a hanging.
the video for cat power’s (chan marshall) “living proof” is a bit more watchable, but maintains some strange imagery. it starts with marshall (in a bootleg pink tupac hoodie) and a black guy (in a bootleg lisa “left eye” lopes shirt) drinking out of a pink baby bottles. after some dancing they go off to a race, where marshall runs in a red latex outfit with a cross on her back against women in burqa like attire. there is so much indecipherable symbolism in the video that i almost feel dizzy thinking about it. it’s controversy at it finest.
korine’s latest video, this one for the black keys’ (dan auerbach and patrick carney) “gold on the ceiling”, goes back to the vhs style and is one of the creepiest things i’ve seen in recent time. auerbach and carney are carried around in baby bjorns by emotionless giant copies of themselves. its really disturbing. messages pop up on the screen every once in while (“$$$$$$$”, “WE LOVE BOOTY”, “WE LOVE LOOTCAKE”). at the end of the video the atl twins show up. their personal story is so crazy and messed up that it’s no surprise korine put them in the video.
check out more of harmony korine at this unofficial fansite.