What happens when a luxury brand gives a so-hip-it-hurts filmmaker a bunch of money to direct a short film featuring clothing from its fall collection? Snowballs happens, apparently. The Harmony Korine directed short premiered at Paris’ Club Silencio Tuesday night, a club which, fittingly enough, was designed by David Lynch.
Like much of Korine’s work, the five-minute-long head scratcher is set in a depressed corner of America, namely a rural tract of low-income housing, possibly a trailer park. To make matters worse, the film’s two main figures appear to be Native Americans, albeit creepy, gnome-like Native Americans wearing silicone masks and…Proenza Schouler, naturally. They sing a terrifying little song as they go about their business, which includes going to hang out with a white Deliverance type whose gas mask is reminiscent of the Dennis Hopper character in Blue Velvet. I don’t know about you, but I spent the entire length of the film waiting for some terrible violence to happen, and it never did. This resistance to any kind of narrative or dramatic payoff is one of the most divisive things about Korine’s work.
“It was a little disturbing. It was really uncomfortable and jarring and amazing,” socialite Lauren Santo Domingo told WWD. “I don’t know if anyone can make a crystal meth trailer park seem chic. I mean, there is something very avant-garde about it.”
After you’re done laughing at that person, can we talk about the cultural appropriation going on here? Making artsy films about disadvantaged communities you don’t belong to is one thing. Making artsy films about disadvantaged communities you don’t belong to for the purpose of selling thousand dollar couture? That’s kind of where I draw the line. Add in the element of race, and you are in way, way, way over your head. I know Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough joked that “it’s a sales deterrent, if anything,” but let’s get real. Proenza Schouler is not in the business of throwing money away just for the fuck of it. This is a storied fashion house, premiering a short film at an incredibly trendy and exclusive club, during Paris Fashion Week, for a room full of Important Fashion People. Sounds pretty promotional to me.
Way to like, totally sell out, Harmony Korine. It’s a good thing I didn’t like your films that much to begin with.