In Gummo, which is one of the most idiosyncratic works of cinema, Harmony Korine builds an challenging narrative while looking at the messed up lives.
In his first feature film shot in 1997, Korine glances at the garbage dump of the modern man who has left in the clutches of nothingness and has lost consciousness while questioning all values.
It follows the people living in a Ohio town recently hit by a hurricane. It is a world dominated by undesirable bodies, repressed identities, insects swarming behind frames. Gummo embraces unconsciousness and ambiguous areas, and it tortures the stinking cat of the status quo.
With its uncanny editing and atmosphere, mise-en-scene touches, the uneasiness created by the contrasts in the use of sound, it masterfully conveys the distortion that we are prisoners of.
GUMMO: PLUNGE INTO DIRT
Milan Kundera writes “Why would he have deeper feelings for this child than any other child, to whom he was attached to one night when he forgot to take adequate precautions?” in The Unbearable Lightness of Being… Gummo fearlessly pursues this light and funny nothingness. Kundera also writes about mundane and vulgar “kitsch”, which hides shit. On the contrary, the young director Korine constantly searches for this filth in murky waters, in the house of a dying woman, on abandoned bridges, in the past that is remembered with shame. Finding it in the secluded corrupt subculture of American society becomes very easy.
But is everything lost? Do we just have a dead cat beaten with sticks? How do we get out of this familiar nightmare “town”? Through embracing the irony? While Gummo has no intention of attempting to answer these difficult questions in detailed way, its posture is clear… “Life is awesome. It really is. Without it, you would be dead.”
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