Fucking Trash Humpers

by Tony Nigro

I have to admit a crude fascination with Harmony Korine and his movies, despite the facts that I 1) don’t enjoy watching them, 2) am turned off by his self-mythologizing and elusive bio, and 3) lost my taste for provocateurs a while back.  But I do love a good trainwreck, and Korine’s work usually amounts to that, intentional or not.  The trailer for his latest, Trash Humpers, and Dennis Lim’s Cinema Scope piece about it, intrigue me less for the characters’ effed-up antics and more for the bargain basement video look Korine nails down.

Video signal and decay were a brief obsession of mine in 2006, when I worked alone at night and went insane seeing the Stan Brakhage-like qualities of component video decay — the same type of trails seen at the beginning and end of the above trailer.  This is a strictly analog-only effect, which is to say that the slow-but-sure full digitization of video will eventually render them as outdated as the pops, hisses and scratches of a vinyl LP — or scratches on film.

Korine seemingly went this way to enhance the crap aesthetic of Trash Humpers, but I can’t help thinking of the BBC experiment in which the 13-year-old traded his iPod for a Walkman and went three days before realizing he could turn over a cassette tape.  Put in that light, the look of Korine’s film is no longer trashy.  It’s antique.

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