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Larry Clark, Great American Rebel (2003)

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Title: Larry Clark, Great American Rebel (2003)

Larry Clark, Great American Rebel (2003) on IMDb 7.3/10

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11 November 2003 (France)  »

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great American sleaze
1 June 2004 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This French documentary wants to show film-maker Larry Clark as the pure artist, but sequences of him grinning at the camera and perving on couples in the park, only reveal how sleazy he is. It isn't until the end where we meet his girlfriend that we understand that he is not gay, since his love of teenage boys and his films are full of gay subtext.

Clark has been demonized for his use of explicit sex and drug use, in films like Kids, Another Day in Paradise, Bully, and Ken Park, but what is perhaps more disturbing is that which he terms his "moral anthropology". He may want to celebrate the lives of children acting out, but in reality what he is doing is exposing them as pathetic, ignorant, middle class consumers with no imagination or ambition.

The film clips are not titled, so this treatment requires a certain knowledge of Clark's work, though it also includes his photographs and a recent "punk Picasso" exhibition. John Waters provides the only laugh here when he says that he thinks that "the police are going to come in any minute".

More disturbing than Clark is the pretentousness of the documentary makers, who indulge in out-of-focus, black and white, speed editing, slow motion, alternate camera angles, and an extended yapping dog on the soundtrack. The dog is seen in the park with other dogs sniffing other dog's behinds, which is a good metaphor for Clark.

Of note is the appearance of actor Michael Pitt who presents himself as a stoned slacker, counter-productive to earning him mainstream work, and that Clark's future plans include a biopic on film director Nicholas Ray.

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