Author Topic: The Smell of Us  (Read 3228 times)

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wilder

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The Smell of Us
« on: December 04, 2014, 05:29:20 PM »
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A story centered around a group of self-destructive skateboarders in Paris.

Written and Directed by Larry Clark
Release Date - TBD, January 14th, 2015 in France



Jeremy Blackman

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Re: The Smell of Us
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2014, 06:10:35 PM »
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They do look stinky.

Is Larry Clark allowed to hang out with children in France?
"Hunger is the purest sin"

wilder

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Re: The Smell of Us
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2015, 01:51:12 PM »
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Playing Thursday, February 26 at Lincoln Center

wilder

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Re: The Smell of Us
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2015, 03:56:30 AM »
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(mild spoilers)

This was horrifying, unrelenting, and left me as flabbergasted as the first time I saw Happiness. I haven't wrestled with a movie like I am this one, for years, and it brings to mind something I'd heard a filmmaker say back in the 90s — how some movies you watch and they're unpleasant, but they stay with you because you had a real reaction. You think back years later and maybe you still don't like it but the thought crosses “I saw something that day.” The Smell of Us is one of those. Really uncomfortable film, even by Larry Clark standards.

More than any of his others movies I thought this one was trying to put you in LC’s state of mind. There are scenes (you know what kind) between 70 year old actors and teenagers, including Clark himself, that are disturbing but among the best he's ever done. Being that they're (mostly) between young male prostitutes and older men, they raise questions about who's using who, where does the exploitation lie, or does there have to be any at all in that kind of dynamic? Can/Do the rules change? There’s a scene between a young male prostitute and a significantly older woman that plays to show the younger actor selling himself to her as much more unsettled than in the other m-m scenes, so much so that the woman comments on his reticence — I can’t help but think it was done in deliberate contrast to the male-male dynamic for some reason. The movie is clearly autobiographical and Clark almost seems to be suggesting that re: the age disparity, I’m assuming in his own defense, there doesn’t necessarily have to be a victim in these kinds of relationships. It’s a provocative and unnerving assertion to make. 

The film is more through the eyes of Clark the filmmaker than any single protagonist, sexualizing every minute interaction. That said, although the movie is essentially scenes of wall-to-wall depravity, there's one character, a girl, who very thinly serves as the film's moral compass, eyes reacting against the other characters in a scene of over-the-top destruction but never raising her voice to say no to their actions. Her presence makes us aware that Clark is conscious of and considering the right and wrong of everything he's portraying, at least by societal standards, and yet it feels like a film by a man that has presence of mind but cannot help himself — his sexual compulsions and need to indulge them take the reigns: practically a confessional. Tough, complicated movie. Ultimately artful. Don’t believe The Playlist’s tone deaf review.

wilder

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Re: The Smell of Us
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2015, 11:55:10 PM »
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Filmmaker Larry Clark Talks About the Future and Shooting in French
via Vice

A punk like Larry Clark never really grows up, but now he's 72, and his work is starting to show signs of his secret maturity. Clark's recent film Marfa Girl, which was released on his website in 2012 before being acquired for theatrical distribution last year, is a coming-of-age story about Adam, a Mexican-American teen who lives in the desolate border town of Marfa, Texas. The movie has the sex-and-drugs brutality of Clark's early classics Kids and Bully, but it also addresses subjects like spirituality, belonging, and parenthood with a tenderness foreign to that work. In anticipation of the film's (re)release, I had dinner with Clark near his Tribeca home to discuss the shift Marfa Girl represents and his plans for a sequel.



VICE: What led to the acquisition of Marfa Girl after its online-only release?
Larry Clark: My idea was to put Marfa Girl online and cut out all the producers and distributors—the crooks, I call them. I put it on my website, and it was online about a year. It did OK, but I guess there's something hard about convincing people to charge their credit card $5.99 on someone's website. It was an experiment, and I'm glad I did it. But I don't plan on having any more major releases online—probably just short projects that I've done for fun. Anyway, people approached my producer, Adam Sherman, about a theatrical release, so we're doing it now. And since the movie's release, I've gone back to Texas and shot Marfa Girl 2, so sometime soon we'll be able to do double features of the movies.

You've kept active since Marfa Girl's release and sold thousands of your archival photographs. What else have you been up to?
I'm just back from Paris, where I made a film in French called The Smell of Us, which is about teen skaters who hustle on the side. I spent a year in Paris, and it was interesting for me to make a film in a different language with an all-French cast and crew. I don't speak any French, but it was OK, since the language and the emotion of the film are close to English, I think. I've had the idea of making a French movie for a long time, and after I met Mathieu [Landis, the screenwriter] in Paris in 2010, we developed the project together for over a year. It was originally somewhat autobiographical for him, but halfway through shooting I threw out the script and changed it. So I guess it's not really his story anymore. We have a book coming out that's going to include stills from the film as well as the screenplay. So if you read French, you can read the script and see how the movie itself is totally different.

What attracted you to making a movie set in Marfa? In your film it's depicted as a place of total desolation, but the town also has a reputation for being a hub for young artists.
When I first went, I was visiting my friend Christopher Wool, the great American painter, and I was just fascinated by the town. There's nothing there. There are no jobs—all the kids' ambition is to get the hell out of Marfa. It truly is in the middle of nowhere, and even though they're 70 miles from the border, there are hundreds of border patrolmen who have nothing to do except fuck with the locals, and they're stopping the Hispanics who were born and raised there. So there's a real racist aspect to the town. While I was there, I kept a notebook where I kind of wrote a script, and day by day I was just making the film up while I was shooting it, just flying by the seat of my pants. I had some basic ideas so that I could schedule the actors and the crew by the day, but I kept adding ideas as I went along. I kept making the bad guy worse and worse... like that scene where he sexually abuses Adam—I told the actors about it 20 minutes before we shot it. They just sort of had to go along with it. I lost a couple of crew members over that.

That part of the movie was really unexpected for me. What made you put that in there?
There was this cop in Oklahoma who busted a friend of mine when I was a kid, and he said that he'd let him go if the kid let the cop blow him. So the cop blew the kid and let him go! I just wanted to make Tom as disturbed as I could, so I thought about every crazy person I've ever known and every crazy thing that had ever happened and put it all in this one character, so that was fun for me to make happen. It was a lifetime of stories that I was able to draw upon and put in these characters.

Your work has always focused on certain subjects, most noticeably adolescence and young people. Why is it that you've never had a protagonist who's an adult, even one in his or her 20s?
The way I see it, The Smell of Us is a story about all ages, but it's still told through the perspective of youth. It's just what I've always done. It's like a bottomless pit for me. It's my own territory. No one else seems to be doing it as well as me.

What's different about French teenagers compared with Americans?
They're a bunch of mama's boys, so they're weaker in that way. I like them a lot, but there's a certain toughness here that's not there.

Do you feel any differently now about young people than you did when you started making art about them?
Yeah, I'm sure I do. I think I have much more insight, of course. I think that the consequences are a lot more apparent to me now. Whatever one does in one's life, there are certainly going to be consequences. I see them more as an old guy. I kind of know what's going to happen—I can tell what's going to happen to people, and it's very disconcerting. That's part of the reason I always wanted to go back [to Marfa] and make a second movie, and even a third one. It's the same characters, same story. I just felt like there were so many unanswered questions at the end of the film. So it was interesting to go back and pick up the loose threads and see what could happen next.

Marfa Girl comes out in New York and Los Angeles on March 27.

wilder

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Re: The Smell of Us
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2015, 03:14:08 AM »
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Interview with Film Comment - Part 1, Part 2

Quote
There’s another version of the film that’s going to come out in five or six months in September, which we’re going to call the Director’s Cut. It’s the same film, except I’m in the film as myself, like breaking the fourth wall, and walking through the film on many occasions. There’s a scene in the end of the film where I’m in it as myself again. I’m talking to kids… well, you’ll see it. That’s going to come out in September, and then we’re going to do a box set of both DVDs, which will be interesting. Because the Director’s Cut… you’ve never seen anything like it, I’ve never seen a director do what I did. I got so into it that it became something else, again.

 

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