Sunday, 17 March 2013

Larry Clark: Warsaw/Texas

For the special showing of Larry Clark's new film, the tunnel-like projection room of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (MoMaW) was packed with anyone who thought they're someone. Startist Wilhelm Sasnal turned up ten minutes early wearing a rain-coat with its hoodie up:

"Is this going to be pornographic?"

The former furniture department store "Emilia", the current location of MoMaW

The blonde curator willow nodded with a smile.

Despite winning last year's best film prize at the Rome Festival, Clark chose to circumvent cinemas and made Marfa Girl accessible only over his website. To cut out the "crooked Hollywood distributors" or to avoid censure?


Neither he nor Mr. Sasnal need have worried about the latter. Sure, the inhabitants of the Texan slacker town Marfa - including the film's protagonist, sixteen year-old Adam ("a young Mick Jagger") - take drugs and have groupsex. But it's nothing we haven't seen before in Kids or Ken Park.

Marfa's artist & "slut" in residence, Drake Burnette
What is new, is Clark's treatment of racial and class tensions between the town's police force and its Mexican community, and insights into the alternative spirituality of Marfa's inhabitants. In one excellent scene, for example, Adam's mother and a Mexican healer discuss the curative effects of sounds, and the trauma of burying their pets. 

But apart from these parts, which are fun and courageous, Clark still dwells too much on the glamorization of teenhood. Seemingly endless scenes of Adam hugging his emaciated girlfriend in a field look like the making of for a Teen Vogue photoshoot. Close-ups of their Converse shoes and ripped jeans reinfoce the feeling that what we are watching is some kind of shabby-chic ideal. 

Larry Clark shooting his crew with model Jessica Miller (why?) for V Magazine

When the sun set on the young couple and a long-haired guy rode past on a horse, the Warsaw audience laughed. Clark might have been playing with Americana clichés, but in the process he got wrapped up in his own. 

Watch Marfa Girl here

No comments:

Post a Comment