6.7/10
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70 user 46 critic

Julien Donkey-Boy (1999)

A portrait of the effects of schizophrenia on family life is the central focus.

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Writer:

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3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Brian Fisk ...
Pond Boy
...
Pearl (as Chloe Sevigny)
...
Father
Joyce Korine ...
Grandma
...
Chris
Miriam Martínez ...
Teenage Girl (as Miriam Martinez)
Edgar Erikkson ...
Bearded Man
James Moix ...
Dancing Man
Victor Varnado ...
Rapper
Oliver A. Bueno ...
Bowler
Roger Harris ...
Bowler
Josseph Padilla ...
Bowler
Olivia Pérez ...
Bowler (as Olivia Perez)
Freddie Perez ...
Bowler
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Storyline

"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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexuality and disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 September 2000 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Dogme # 6 - Julien Donkey-Boy  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,845 (USA) (8 October 1999)

Gross:

$80,226 (USA) (5 November 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The house in which Julien and his family live is, in reality, the home of Joyce Korine, the director's grandmother, who also plays Julien's grandmother in the film. See more »

Quotes

Father: Where are you mount Everest? Give me some Everest.
See more »

Connections

References The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

String Quartet in F Major, op. 96, 1st Movement (American)
Composed by Antonín Dvorák
Performed by The Takács Quartet (as Takacs Quartet)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Somewhat reflexive presentation about schizophrenia
15 May 2011 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

Do not expect to be entertained, and do not expect to be overwhelmed by the aesthetic of this film. Julien Donkey Boy is no more beautiful than its subject. Harmony Korine, in directing and writing this film, has done exactly what he set out to do - he has created a concentrated dose of family life with schizophrenia. In saying that the experience is concentrated, what I mean is that the film uses exaggeration rather liberally in order to condense its somewhat impossibly defined subject matter. Although there are certainly interwoven story arcs for the main characters, there is no central plot, no linearity, no unfragmented reality. The film itself, therefore, is just a little unhinged.

One of my older sisters was schizophrenic. You would have to condense a couple decades worth of her psychotic episodes into a couple of hours to get anywhere near the level of constant distress that is depicted in this film. I most closely related to the character of Pearl, Julien's pregnant sister, but recognized aspects of my own family in all of the characters. What I am trying to say is that there is certainly some truth to what this movie says and the archetypal characters portrayed, its truth may be hard to recognize if you haven't lived through it.

Living with a schizophrenic will bring out and amplify your own nature

  • and if you are open to it, you will be a better person. It is also,


however, fairly easy to allow the experience to overwhelm you. People who have never been exposed to schizophrenia in any but a superficial way will find most of the film's characters and vignettes very difficult to believe. I am pretty sure Korine knew this going in.

Korine has portrayed schizophrenia in a sensitive and truthful, but nevertheless utterly disturbing and somewhat unrealistically condensed way. Every directorial decision is meant to create a sense of realism. The method is very effective, and the film is essentially successful. Julien intentionally and clearly positions its audience as voyeurs, using hand-held photography almost exclusively and allowing character- development (the bulk of the film) to dictate the pace and rhythm of every scene. All of the acting is superb, and although there are very few feel-good moments in this film, it may be somewhat cathartic for folks like me, and somewhat (painfully) enlightening for those who grew up in less dysfunctional, or more-traditionally dysfunctional, families.


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