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Trash Man 

Wednesday, May 26 2010
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Harmony Korine, aging enfant terrible and self-proclaimed "most American" of American indies, finds his level and brings it home to Nashville with the gloriously desultory slap in the face of public taste, Trash Humpers. Korine has proposed the film as a VHS tape found in a ditch. Most simply described, this quasi-underground, midnight-friendly, faux-primitive "artifact" documents a trio of fake geriatric bohos, outfitted in thrift-store finery with faces frozen by transparent wrinkle masks, engaging in all manner of antisocial behavior — smashing TV sets, torturing dolls, pouring dish soap on a stack of pancakes, and, most frequently, lasciviously grinding their groins against back-alley garbage bins. A spectacle to be watched in a wino stupor, Trash Humpers is funny from the get-go; the joke expires after 20 minutes, around the time that three hookers, having already been rhythmically spanked, serenade the three devils with a toneless version of "Silent Night." The movie, however, continues for another hour. Sign of the times: Trash Humpers is all about free expression, though Korine's transgressions seem a lot less expansive and liberating than John Waters' or Jack Smith’s did back during the invention of identity politics. It's ultimately less a celebration of impulse behavior than a celebration of the parodic impulse to record. A conversation with Korine via Skype takes place after the June 3 screening.
June 3-6, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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J. Hoberman

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