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julien donkey-boy

USA 1999. Dir: Harmony Korine. 100 min. 35mm

“The future of cinema ... May be the first brilliant, incandescent burst of the next decade of films to come.”
RAY PRIDE, INDIEWIRE

35mm PRINT! Rendered in a vulgar aesthetic befitting its at-times ugly ideas, Korine’s sophomore film is a deeply affecting, feverish portrait of mental illness and family trauma based on — and dedicated to — the writer-director’s schizophrenic uncle. Ewan Bremner (Trainspotting) is Julien, a paranoid, possibly violent schizophrenic living with his dysfunctional family in Queens, New York. His tyrannical, deranged father (a ferocious Werner Herzog) heads the suffocated household, which also includes Julien’s elderly grandmother, his self-loathing brother, and his sister (a radiant Chloë Sevigny), pregnant with what might be Julien’s child. Created in compliance with the Dogme 95 manifesto (at the urging of Dogme’s Danish co-founders Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, ardent admirers of Gummo), it was shot and fitfully edited by alumni of Dogme #1, Vinterberg’s The Celebration. The film’s distorted, hyper-granular look is the result of video footage being transferred to 16mm, then blown up to 35mm.

 

REVIEWS

“A film of piercing beauty and pain ... So steady is Korine's gaze, and of such a depth of compassion and understanding, that julien donkey-boy acquires a spiritual dimension that allows it ultimately to become an act of redemption.”

LA Times | full review