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'Kids' Director Larry Clark Returns With 'The Smell Of Us' And 'Marfa Girl'

Photo of Christopher Bell By Christopher Bell | The Playlist May 22, 2012 at 10:00AM

Looks like American enfant terrible Larry Clark is finally stepping up to the plate after a long absence. Independent French cinema group mk2 recently sat down with documentary producers Gérard Lacroix and Pierre-Paul Puljiz, and the two revealed they would be involved in the new project from the often-controversial filmmaker behind "Kids," entitled "The Smell Of Us." Puljiz, who centered doc "Larry Clark, Great American Rebel" on the director, met with Lacroix after he expressed desire in adapting Clark's novel "Tulsa."
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Larry Clark

Looks like American enfant terrible Larry Clark is finally stepping up to the plate after a long absence. Independent French cinema group mk2 recently sat down with documentary producers Gérard Lacroix and Pierre-Paul Puljiz, and the two revealed they would be involved in the new project from the often-controversial filmmaker behind "Kids," entitled "The Smell Of Us." Puljiz, who centered doc "Larry Clark, Great American Rebel" on the director, met with Lacroix after he expressed desire in adapting Clark's novel "Tulsa."

There's not much to go on in terms of plot, but the idea stems from poet Mathieu Landais whom he met during an exhibition in Paris. Mostly the producers speak of their trouble getting the script to a point where it wouldn't have to be censored; an obvious hurdle for those at all familiar with the director's work ("Ken Park" starts with a public suicide and ends with a rather extensive teenage/young adult threeway). Gee, I wonder what "smell" he's talking about in the title? Shooting is expected to start in September.

Further research unearthed another project that's coming first, with the working title "Marfa Girl," a small film to be set in the titular Texan town (the same location as the final James Dean pic "Giant"). The movie will be made up of mostly locals and is described as a coming-of-age story, following "three local characters whose lives intersect in a dramatic and tragic twist." Those three are likely a boy (Adam Mediano), a female artist intertwined within the art community, and three Border Patrol agents. The writer/director describes the project as being a "fairly psychological film based deep in my psyche" and that it "exposes our characters as they face matters of immigration, teen pregnancy, moral and religious conflicts and the socioeconomic effects on youth in small town America." Details are subject to change as Clark claims to be "writing it as (he) goes along," and those really interested can check out this recent interview with local Marfa radio. By now, shooting should be completed and we could expect it to pop up at an early 2013 film festival.

So what about "Savage Innocent," originally titled "Wild Child," that was to star Ray Liotta, Rory Culkin, and Dakota Johnson? Word has been extremely quiet on that film, which was supposed to shoot in March of 2010, but a cast of that stature would likely make some sort of buzz -- unfortunately, it looks like this one's kaput.

Clark makes interesting, but generally very uneven films -- "Kids" was great, while "Bully" sports great performances by Nick Stahl and Michael Pitt amidst bonehead, unsubtle direction -- so we're being very cautious with these two. As for 'Smell,' we will say that the director's best work was with Harmony Korine, who was a similar age to Landais at the time, and though few brains are as bizarre as Korine's, we're hoping the young poet can bring something fresh to the filmmaker's work. [mk2]

This article is related to: Larry Clark, The Smell Of Us, Marfa Girl


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