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20 + 20 Covers Project: Harmony Korine

The 'Kids' screenwriter lists his hobbies from the time of his first Dazed cover in 1998: crashing cars, smoking dope, robbing convenience stores and boning chicks

Since emerging as the wunderkind screenwriter of Larry Clark’s ‘95 cult classic Kids, Harmony Korine’s uncompromising vision and rebellious breed of filmmaking has made him an enfant terrible of modern cinema. 

Dazed & Confused: Your first Dazed cover was in 1998, alongside the release of your directorial debut, Gummo. Any memories from the shoot?
Harmony Korine: 
It was my first trip to London. I stayed with Jefferson - they were running the magazine out of his apartment back then. I showed up for the shoot super high, and I was running around the studio writing on the walls with a magic marker, and they were taking pictures. I was trying to mess the place up.

D&C: In the interview, you talked about your approach to filmmaking as being a ‘mistakist art form.’ You said: “ What I mean by mistakist is almost like anti-Hitchcock. When Hitchcock would make a film, before he made it, it was finished. When I make a film, the script is the script and that's the bare bones and it's dead. All the accidents, all the life that come to it, that's the film.” Do you still believe this?
Harmony Korine: 
A large portion of what I said there is still true. I called it mistakism because I liked what would come out in the mistakes. I liked when things got awkward, and I saw a beauty in the randomness. Looking through the lens of a camera can feel like witnessing a chemical reaction, and I liked the idea of documenting the explosion. I still subscribe to that in some ways.

D&C: What was most important to you at that time in your life?
Harmony Korine: 
Crashing cars, smoking dope, robbing convenient stores and boning chicks.

D&C: Were you familiar with Dazed before your cover?
Harmony Korine: 
Yeah, it was part of a group of magazine that emerged around that time--like The Face and i-D--that were really pushing things forward. I thought Dazed was great. It seemed super non-commercial, and they were into weird shit. And Dazed were early supporters of mine. It was the first magazine cover I was ever on. It felt like we were running in the same direction.

D&C: In your films, as well as in the media, you seem to play with truth and lies. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell fact from fiction.
Harmony Korine: 
It’s all true, and none of it is true. What’s true about me or what’s made up in my movies, it’s all the same, and it’s perfect. The ultimate truth is boring, and it doesn’t mean anything anyway.

D&C: How have you seen the indie film scene change since the mid 90s?
Harmony Korine: 
It’s never been more democratic than it is now. It’s never been easier to get things out there, but it’s always the same as far as how many people at any one given time are actually making work that’s interesting, and it’s never all that many people. Most of it is just noise

D&C: Has your approach to filmmaking changed over the years?
Harmony Korine: 
When I was a kid I only ever wanted to do one thing, and I never wanted to be told what to do. I feel the same way now that I did when I was 14 making little videos on VHS. I try to tap into that same place, to not let life get too confusing, and just kind of go with it and not question things too much. I just like to make things. I enjoy the process of writing, and making films and artworks--it’s all sort of the same thing to me. The whole thing is that you just make a film and you do what it takes to get it done. I don’t really worry about anything. I just always feel like it’s all going to be perfect, like it’s written in the cards.

D&C: Your life sounds stress free.
Harmony Korine: 
It kind of is. Like, I always try to take advantage of things; if an opportunity presents itself in any form, it’s nice to do something with it. Life goes by so quickly so I always want to make everything entertaining. I just want to blow it up, just eat it up, lick on it. I’m a man on a mission, a possessed motherfucker.

D&C: Tell us about you back cover choice, Dan Colen.
Harmony Korine: 
Dan is a really good friend of mine, and someone who inspires me. His work is incredibly beautiful. We’re making a book together at the moment. It might be called Pigs and Pigs and Pigs, but it might not.

D&C: What do you foresee for yourself in the next 20 years?
Harmony Korine: 
The greatest of all time. I realize I’m on of the greatest that’s ever done what I do, so I just want to light it up, snort it down, lick it, love it. And I’ll probably start a rap career.

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