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The Boston Globe


Seeking inner Harmony

The word “transcendent” doesn’t necessarily come to mind when pondering the films of Harmony Korine. Maybe “transgressive,” or “offensive,” or “incomprehensible” would be more like it.

For example, it doesn’t seem quite the word to describe his screenwriting debut (Larry Clark directed), 1995’s “Kids,” about an HIV-infected skateboarder whose dream is to pass his disease on to as many virgins as he can. Nor does it do justice to his directorial debut, “Gummo” (1998), in which feral teenagers sell dead cats to the local grocer for money to sniff glue and pay for the services of the town prostitute, or “Julien Donkey-Boy” (1999), the tale of a teenage schizophrenic abused by his father, played by Werner Herzog, who is a fan of listening to bluegrass music while wearing a gas mask. You could make a case that “Mister Lonely” (2007), which is about a sweet-natured Michael Jackson impersonator, has the potential for transcendence, but probably not “Trash Humpers” (2009), a film that features, in its more restrained moments, the title act.

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