Harmonie Korine's Trash Humpers

by on Feb.20, 2012

Montevidayans, has anyone seen this yet? If so, please report!


7 comments for this entry:
  1. Johannes Göransson

    That looks super. Something I’m interested in regarding HK’s work is the use of old-time music (partially b/c I’m really interested in those spooky old songs and I’ve been very influenced by them as well) and how he uses them to un-nerve a present day anachronistically. It looks like this anachronism is very video in this movie.


  2. Mike Young

    It’s pretty great. HK is always relentlessly and joyfully his mind and his attempts to eat his mind at the same time. Of all his stuff so far, I think this one has some of the most tender moments of pure HK eye-level world encounter, like even-streetlights-are-monsters type stuff.

  3. jt

    Lara– were we communing on the 20th, because I sat down to watch Trash Humpers that very day?

    The movie, for being about 90 minutes of what was mostly old people (or people masked as old people) humping trash cans, fellating tree branches, etc., and tap dancing over broken glass, was extremely watchable. It was a bit like back-to-back re-runs of American’s Home Videos but more terrible.

    There are a few things in terms of anachronism in the movie– the use of music, the use of vhs and low-fi editing, the juxtaposition of the very old and the very young (i think this happens a lot in HK movies)– but there was something particularly moving about the use of violence in this movie– and by this, I mean both the literal and metaphorical violence. The literal violence is used as a method for anachronistic disruption and, as a result, experience (art?) becomes demented. Expectations of “the elderly” don’t hold true when they are introduced as a pack of subhuman trash humpers. Violence seems redefined, even empowered, as a source of rejuvenation. (In a lot of ways, this also mirrors the use of the “old vhs” medium and how its role in the movie is perhaps another type of villain; you can’t help but watch the movie and think back to your own vhs collection and the “trash humping” that probably took place in your own family movies).

  4. jennifer tamayo

    oh– also HK called the movie an “ode to vandalism” which seems like its own anachronism.

  5. Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle

    Mistress Lara of the Lark, Here is a site and a segment from an author you’ll adore. I hope it all fits in your “box”. Translated by Richard Howard and friends with Roland Barthes, this guy was so obtuse he still remains unknown.

    Copiously yours,
    Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle


    Severo Sarduy, from Cobra (Dalkey Archive)

    She’d set them in molds at daybreak, apply salt compresses, chastise them with successive baths of hot and cold water. She forced them with gags; she submitted them to crude mechanics. She manufactured wire armors to put them in, shortening and twisting the threads again and again with pliers; after smearing them with gum arable she bound them with strips of cloth: they were mummies, children of Florentine medallions.

    She attempted scrapings.

    Resorted to magic.

    Fell into orthopedic determinism.

    COBRA: “My God”—on the record player Sonny Rollins, of course—”why did you bring me into the world if it wasn’t to be absolutely divine?”—she moaned naked on an alpaca rug, among fans and Calder mobiles. “What good is it to be queen of the Lyrical Theater of Dolls, and to have the best collection of mechanical toys, if at the sight of my feet men run away and cars stare climbing on them?”

    She took a sip of the “pool”—that pitcher in which the Madam, to compensate for the rigors of summer and of the reducing operation, served her a raspberry ice cream soda—she smooched her tangled glass hairs, with a metric ruler she measured the rebellious ones and again launched into the “My God, why . . .,” etc.

    She began to transform at six for the midnight show; in that crying ritual one had to deserve each ornament: the false eyelashes and the crown, the pigments, which the profane could not touch, the yellow contact lenses—tiger eyes—the powders of the great white powder puffs.

    Even offstage, once painted and in possession of their costumes, they obeyed the queen, and at the mustached apparition of a devil the servants would flee through the corridors or lock themselves in the cupboards and come out plastered with flour.

    Swift, disheveled, the opposite of the pageantry onstage, the Madam would glide in Wise Monkey slippers, arranging the screens which structured that décroché space, that heterotopia—tavern, ritual theater and/or doll factory (1), lyrical bawdy house—whose elements only she saved from dispersion or boredom. She’d appear suddenly in the kitchen, in the orange smoke of a shrimp sauce, she’d run in and out of the dressing rooms carrying a plate of oysters, she’d prepare a syringe or lacquer a comb to twist an obstinate curl.

    So the Go Between came and went, as I was saying a paragraph ago, through the corridors of that snail shell of kitchens, steam baths, and dressing rooms, crossing tiptoe the dark cells where all day the mutants slept, imprisoned in machines and gauze, immobilized by threads, lascivious, smeared with white racial creams. The network of her route was concentric, her passage was spiral through the baroque setting of mosquito nets. She would watch over the hatching of her cocoons, the emerging of the silk, the winged unfolding. The Guggenheim Museum, with its centrifugal ramps, was less dizzying than this place which, muddy, reduced to a single layer, the Procuress animated with her daily roving: flattened circular castle, “labyrinth of the ear.” With cotton soaked in ether she would calm the suffering, give gin tonics to the thirsty, and to those who grew impatient with the wait among compresses of burning turpentine and poultices of crushed leaves, her favorite advice: be Brechtian.

    She ruled, braiding buns, reducing with ice massages, here a belly, there a knee, smoothing big hands, tuning husky rebel voices with cedar inhalations, disguising irreducible feet with a double platform and a pyramidal heel, distributing earrings and adjectives.

    Cobra was her greatest accomplishment, her “rabbit-foot.” Despite her feet and her shadow—cf. chapter V—she preferred her to all the other dolls, finished or in process. From daybreak on she would select her outfits, brush her wigs, arrange on the Victorian chairs Indian cassocks with gold galloons, real and velvet cats; among the cushions she would hide toy acrobats and snake charmers which on being touched would set off a Skater’s Waltz on a tin flute, with baritonal shrieks, so that they’d surprise Cobra at siesta time. Then she would surrender to the contemplation of the color poster which, framed between red pennants, presided over that chamber.

    Dear Lady Readers: I know that at this point you don’t have the slightest doubt about the identity of the character presented so disproportionately here: of course, it’s Mei Lan Fang. The octogenarian impersonator of the Peking Opera appeared in her characterization as a young lady—a coif of rattles on her head—receiving the bouquet of flowers, the pineapple and cigar box from the virile president of a Cuban delegation.

    And when each ringlet was in its place, then the Mother would arrange rendezvous, fulfilling the petitions of the most persistent and the high rollers, spacing out the schedules of the most solicited ones, plotting chance meetings in the cells of the least solicited. To these she’d give her best advice and reveal the weakness of each customer, to once again correct the laws of nature and rescue the always uncertain balance between supply and demand: the poor wretches knew who was foot adorer and for whom one had to do a Javanese dance in a Mata Hari costume, while having an enema.

    Writing is the art of ellipsis: in vain would we point out that of all the agendas Cobra’s was the most crowded. Dior was a close second with her bouquets of orchids received anonymously, Sontag for her Cartier jewels and reserved tables at Maxim’s, Cadillac for the number of hours Caddy convertibles and their black chauffeurs dressed in white had waited for her and for all the other friendly presents which, before he sends his card, have already introduced a South American ranch owner.

    What is really worth mentioning is that Cobra’s fervent admirers rioted only to adore her close up, to remain a few moments in mute contemplation of her. A slight, pale London tea importer brought her three tambourines one night so that at their rhythm she, laden with bracelets, cymbals, torches and hoops, would prance on him, like Durga on the demon turned buffalo.

    Some, coolly, would ask to kiss her hands; others, more perturbed, lick her clothes; a few, dialectic, would surrender to her, supreme derision of yang.

    The Go Between would concede appointments by order of certainty in ecstasy: the contemplative and lavish would obtain her for the same night; the practitioners and close-fisted were put off for weeks and only had access to the Myth when there was no better bidder.

    . . . the Mother, suddenly, would fall into a chair, fatigued. They’d fan her. Even from there she would continue directing the mise-en-scène, the traffic of movable platforms and trappings in the visible show—where Cadillac was already singing—and in the broader theater of consecutive rooms.

    Writing is the art of digression. Let us speak then of a smell of hashish and of curry, of a stumbling basic English and of a tingling trinket music. This signalectic file card is the Indian costume-maker’s, who three hours before curtain time would arrive with his little box of brushes, his minutely precise bottles of ink and “the wisdom”—the same turbaned one would say, in profile, displaying his only earring—”of a whole life painting the same flower, dedicating it to the same god.”

    And so he’d decorate the divas with his arabesques, tit by tit, since these, for being round and protuberant, were much easier to adorn than the prodigal bellies and little Boucherian buttocks, pale pink with a tendency to spread. The hoarse divinities would parade before the inventor of butterfly wings and there remain static the rime to review their songs; devoted, the miniaturist would conceal in vivo the nudity of the frozen big-footed queens with silver fringes, eye hieroglyphs, arabesques and rainbows, which came out thinner or thicker depending on the insertion and watery brew; he would disguise the shortcomings of each with black whorls and underline the charms surrounding them with white circles. On their hands he’d write, in saffron and vermilion, their cue lines, the most forgettable, and the order in which they had to recite them, and on their fingers, with tiny arrows, an outline of their first movements. They would leave the minister of external affairs, all tattooed, psychedelic, made for love from head to toe. The Madam would look them over, stick on their eyelashes and an OK label for each, and send them off with a slap on the backside and a Librium.

    Writing is the arc of recreating reality. Let us respect it. The Himalayan artificer did not arrive, as it was said, bejeweled and pestiferocious, but in a newly ironed and virile cream-color twilled suit—on his silk tie an Eiffel Tower and a naked woman lying on the Folies Chéries caption.

  6. Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle

    Up & Coming Down & Outs: Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle

    I met Harmony Korine on visiting day in the garden at Smithers, that posh uptown NY drug & alcohol rehab, formerly a mansion where they shot the bathtub scene for Streisand’s Funny Girl. Sworn to secrecy I won’t divulge who was “Inpatient” or ”Out” but we sat and chatted there also with Larry Clark and Gus Van Sant. In weeks to come Gus released his feature To Die For starring Nicole Kidman, and Harmony debuted as the screenwriter of Larry Clark’s film Kids.