It’s been eight days now. It’s still not clear. Harmony Korine’s new film ‘Trash Humpers’ hit the London Film Festival Screen last Monday and my head is still fuzzy. Seventy-Eight minutes of VCR of actors made to look old in footage made to look found. No plot, cackling melting-faced degenerates, with buttocks too lithe for their wizened masks, larking about the suburbs at night looking for kicks amidst trash and booze, whilst repetitively singing an eerie nursery rhyme. I like recalcitrance. It makes feel less stoopid, stupid. If there is nothing to get then I haven’t missed anything. Sure one could dig for social commentary…the decayed nature of the VCR editing evokes a feeling that we have wasted our freedom…the use of elderly miscreants suggests that the older, numerically abundant, generation’s quest to live free has screwed the planet. Sometimes it hurts to pigeon hole the ridiculous. Interpret it yourself. I tend to think that Korine could be a great film-maker if is work to date – Kids, Julien Donkey-Boy and Gummo – is anything to go by. Trash Humpers is a stage of evolution in his career. One of those random stages that isn’t caused by need but more of a freak mutation that doesn’t really affect much initially and becomes the norm. Genetic drift. That sounds rather condescending but Korine is playful, he is experimenting, perhaps kicking out at the overly-processed nature of film-making through this essay on the short, the nihilist and the random. For me Korine deals in the search for Herzog’s ‘ecstatic truth’ and I’ll watch him wade through trash trying to find it. Not every day mind you, we all need a little narrative now and again.
Speaking of Herzog and narrative, I caught the showing of Nosferatu at the Old Biscuit Factory in Bermondsey on Halloween. Nosferatu is a classic vampire horror, the classic vampire horror, originally made by the German expressionist director Friedrich Murnau in 1921. Herzog created his homage in 1979. It was this homage that was selected to be the final screening in the V22 Herzog season which has been showing the director’s work across London during September and October. It’d be great to tell you that I’d really enjoyed the film. I’m going to moan though. Not because of my precious Werner but due to one of the worst film audiences I’ve ever encountered. Oh Lord I know I sound pretentious but the constant talking, sniggering and laughing ruined my appreciation of a wonderful looking interpretation. Perhaps Halloween and the mythic Nosferatu image brought out the wrong crowd. Not that I should ordain how fellow viewers interpret and enjoy a film but once you have laughed at the sight of Nosferatu or the slight melodrama of the script once or twice is it still laugh-out-loud funny every other time? As Jeremy says to Mark in Peep Show after being kept awake by a new Aussie housemate, ‘I just want to know, what’s so funny?’ The situation wasn’t helped by the fact the organisers couldn’t work or position the projector or that glass bottles bought from the bar rattled on the concrete floor every few minutes, or that the space was cold – physically cold – and, worst of all, had terrible acoustics. All of this meant the atmosphere was poisonous for concentration; I had to near meditate to engage with the film. A good idea poorly executed, and absolutely nothing to do with the very little sleep I had the night before. Nothing.