In Paris, a young American who works as a Michael Jackson lookalike meets Marilyn Monroe, who invites him to her commune in Scotland, where she lives with Charlie Chaplin and her daughter, Shirley Temple.
A series of hazy 8mm vignettes, accompanied by a soft, lilting voice over, in which girls skulk around schoolyards, spray graffiti, drink, smoke, pose and embrace, evoking the loneliness, confusion and overwhelming wonder of growing up.
"O, mio babbino caro" plays as a woman skates gracefully. In contrast, little is graceful and daddy is not dear in Julien's world. His father listens to blues wearing a gas mask; dad prods, lectures, and derides Julien as well as Julien's brother and pregnant sister, while grandma attends to her dog. Julien is different, schizophrenic. He wears gold teeth. He bowls, sings, worships, and chats with a group of young adults with disabilities. His sister's child is probably his own. He talks on the phone, imagining it's his mother, who died in childbirth years before. He may be a murderer of children. From his point of view (perhaps), the film follows this odd family for a few weeks. Written by
As people see things, things see us. This extremely disturbing film about a man/boy with schizophrenia struggling through life with his twisted and mentally abusive dad, his sister who is pregnant with his baby, and his abused brother, is terrifyingly weird. With a film in which a boy is brutally smashed in the head with a stone and choked to death, a nun masturbates on the floor, and a armless man plays the drums, it is completely obvious that this film will only appeal to certain people. This film is freakish, but not in as good a way as GUMMO was. With all this being said, while the film was a hellish and emotional picture that is not for the mainstream(to say the least), I would never ever want to really see it again. This was just too much. It made me feel unclean in a way much deeper tan GUMMO. I felt my mind was permanently warped. I never want to even think about this film ever again. Thinking about it makes me feel nauseous. The images and the characters and the actions of them have gotten to me and Of course, this was probably Harmony Korine's intention. Many viewers won't feel the images they are seeing are necessary to for the to see. It is kind of a freak show in a way. It isn't so much the content that is bad. There are many events in the film that just feel wrong. Take for instance the scene where Julien attempts to sell skating shoes he made. He attempts to sell them to a boy who does not listen to what he has to say about his purportedly useless invention and instead swears and yells at him, telling him in exaggerated form that the shoes will kill people and that he wouldn't pay any money for them. The scene has no purpose other than to seemingly be insulting and depressing to the viewer who has already had their fair share of depressing events throughout the film. And yet it is done in such a way that is very lifelike and very realistic in terms of how the scene is constructed, but it seems so weird to want to film this sort of behavior. It has also been well known that for this film project, Harmony recorded real people's reactions of some of the strange behavior with hidden cameras. This adds genuine realism to the film along with the nasty stuff, as if it didn't have enough. It's a tough film to sit through. I think it's a good film, but I don't recommend it for fear that people will think I'm a sicko for thinking they will like it.
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