Film: Julien Donkey-Boy
Julien Donkey-Boy is a 1999 Avant-Garde Film by Harmony Korine. It tells the story of the titular Julien (Ewen Bremner), a Paranoid Schizophrenic man living in New York with his pregnant sister, Pearl (Chloe Sevigny, Korine's girlfriend at the time), his aspiring Wrestler brother, Chris (Evan Neumann), and their Robitussin-swigging, gasmask-wearing, Bluegrass-listening-to Father (German Director Werner Herzog). Also grandma (Korine's grandmother, Joyce). Supporting characters include a no-armed, relentlessly positive Drummer (Alvin Law), a Black Albino straight from Alabama (Victor Varnado), an innocent, near-blind girl (Chrissy Kobylak) and a Professional Cigarette-Eater (Tom Mullica). Lacking a traditional narrative, Julien Donkey-Boy presents a series of vignettes following these bizarre characters in their daily lives.
This film provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Zig-zagged. At some points Dad seems eccentric, a bit stern, but loving, other times he's calling Pearl a "Dilettante and a slut", and paying Chris $10 to put on his dead mother's dress and dance with him. 'Cause he "Looks the most like your mother."
- Action Prologue: Debatable, but Julien's encounter with a young boy and his turtle definitely gives you some clues into the nature of his psyche.
- Dogme 95: Dogme #6, the first non-European, as well as first American, Dogme film. Lars von Trier praised Korine for interpreting the notorious strictures of the Manifesto in a creative way.
- Godwin's Law: At one point Julien brandishes a BB gun at a poster of Hitler. "You killed the Jews, you killed the Hippies, you killed all the mothers' titties!"
- Gospel Revival Number: In one notable scene, moving Julien to tears
- Grotesque Gallery: El Topo ain't got nothin' on Julien Donkey-Boy.
- Hypocritical Humor: Dad's dislike of "Artsy-Fartsy" things. Considering he's played by Werner Herzog, this is likely intentional.
- Incest Is Relative: Julien is the father of Pearl's baby. The exact circumstances of how or why this happened are only obliquely referenced in a series of polaroids
- Le Film Artistique: It's Harmony Korine. Also Dogme 95.
- Madness Mantra: "THE WIND IS BLIND, THE WIND IS BLIND, THE WIND IS BLIND"
- Mood-Swinger: Dad. Considering his daily habits, he's clearly not a stable individual. Julien himself also counts. Truth in Television.
- Purity Personified: Pearl, pregnancy notwithstanding.
- Signature Style: Continues Gummo's practice of interspersing faded polaroids, Documentary footage, and unusually photographed vignettes into a non-standard Narrative. Adds to it the principles of Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg's Dogme 95 Movement, including extensive hand-held camerawork, an eschewing of non-diegetic music, filming in grainy Digital Video, and leaving the director uncredited (Though Korine did include his name in the credits, just not with "Directed By").
- Surrealism: Yup.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: One interpretation, including Roger Ebert's.
- A Wild Rapper Appears: "WELL. I'M. A. BLACK ALBINO, STRAIGHT FROM ALABAMA, WAY DOWN SOUTH, AND Y'KNOW THAT I'M. A. BLACK ALBINO, STRAIGHT FROM ALABAMA..."
- X Meets Y: Roger Ebert described it as "Freaks shot by the Blair Witch crew". It's an accurate description.