Outlaw photographer-turned-filmmaker Larry Clark influenced the likes of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Gus Van Sant long before he directed a picture. Inspired by his seminal photo essay,...
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|Issued second book of photographs, "Teenage Lust"; also wrote text; had received an NEA grant in the 1970s for the book|
|Photographed Oklahoma drug culture for first documentary book "Tulsa" (1971); cited as inlfuence or inspiration for films by directors Martin Scorsese ("Taxi Driver" 1976), Francis Ford Coppola ("Rumble Fish" 1983) and Gus Van Sant ("Drugstore Cowboy" 198|
|Ran afoul of the law and arrested for driving under the influence and later possession of a firearm|
|Helmed the feature "Wassup Rockers," about a group of Latino teenagers in South Central Los Angeles|
|As a child, posed for a photograph with Walt Disney|
|Feature directing debut, "Kids", scripted by Korine|
|Among the first US troops to go to Vietnam|
|Convicted of assault and battery after shooting a man in the arm during a card game; served 19 months in prison; of the shooting, he said, "I was doing speed; it seemed like the right thing to do"|
|Made second feature, "Another Day in Paradise"; first credit as producer; story revolved around a pair of drug-abusing scam artists who take a young couple under their wing and form a surrogate family|
|Helmed the feature "Ken Park" which focuses on several Californian skateboarders and their tormented home lives|
|Directed third film "Bully", based on true story of a Florida teenager who murdered his best friend; also had cameo role as the father of one of the teens involved in the murder|
|Met Harmony Korine in San Francisco, California; the two corresponded and later hooked up in NYC|
|Began shooting drugs as a 16-year old (date approximate)|
|Checked into a rehab center for treatment for heroin and alcohol addiction|
As a child, Clark had once had his picture taken with Walt Disney, but Miramax, a division of Disney, would have to create an independent company (Excalibur) to distribute his debut film "Kids" (1995) in order to distance it from the parent studio. Called everything from "a masterpiece" to "nihilistic pornography," it bore a far greater resemblance to "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) than to "Pocahontas" (1995) and proved Clark had not lost his power to shock. Armed with a script penned by a then-19-year old Harmony Korine, the director zeroed in on "kidspeak" and teenage culture, following a group 90s youths throughout the course of one NYC day as the specter of AIDS hovered over them. A telling portrait of children growing up without proper parental guidance, "Kids" is utterly matter-of-fact, brutal and nonjudgmental about its sexual frankness and violence. Clark was able to gain his charges' trust, drawing phenomenal performances from nonactors, particularly his stars Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce and Chloe Sevigny, all of whom have gone on to acting careers.
Clark returned to the streets of Tulsa for "Another Day in Paradise" (1998), based on the book by Eddie Little. More conventional and arguably more satisfying than his debut film, it was a bit raw and unflinching for some tastes but found an audience ready to respond to its gritty aesthetic. Featuring an emotionally engaging Melanie Griffith in an uncharacteristic, deglamorized role and a sometimes over-the-top James Woods, this more traditional narrative seemed to spring directly from the director's Midwestern background and experience of the renegade life, depicting a surrogate family brought together by drugs and crime and its eventual unraveling. Natasha Gregson Wagner registered sympathetically in the most tragic role, but the real revelation was Vincent Kartheiser as Bobbie, previously only in children's films.
Clark's downbeat but surprisingly warm slice of life on the edge proved an anomaly. His third feature was "Bully" (2001), an affecting and disturbingly nihilistic portrait of contemporary teenagers in southern Florida. Inspired by a true story, the film depicted the antisocial behavior of the tyrannical Bobby Kent who was eventually murdered by his best friend. Clark displayed a taut control over the material and elicited strong performances from his cast (including Brad Renfro, Rachel Miner and Nick Stahl) and the film earned considerable critical acclaim.
|Matt Clark||Son||born c. 1983|
|Layton School of Art|
|"I've always said that the only reason I make my photographs is because I can't see them anywhere else and I have a psychological need to see these images. Why make them if they're already there? But I'd see these films, and I'd say, 'Why don't they go further? If I'd done that film, I would have done it differently.'"
" . . . My dear mother in Oklahoma sent me this newspaper clipping when 'Drugstore Cowboy' came out, and it said in the production notes Gus Van Sant credits Larry Clark's book 'Tulsa' as an inspiration for the film. I grudgingly liked it, but I didn't like it too much, and I was pissed. I said, 'Man, this guy's on my turf!'"
"And I said, 'I'm gonna make a film and show these motherfuckers how it's done.' That's how it was. It was a macho don't-fuck-with-me kind of thing, and I thank you, Gus, for getting me to make this film. You're more responsible for 'Kids' than you know." --Larry Clark to Gus Van Sant in INTERVIEW, July 1995
|"Hollywood sucks. , , , Hollywood's the lowest place in the United States. . . . Man, the people suck, they all have agendas and agendas and agendas, and they're al lying cocksuckers and the lowest scum of the earth. But you know, I was in the penitentiary, so I know those people. I was ready for 'em. And when it came down to the shit, I said, 'Man, you need to spend some time in the joint, man, you need to smarten up.'" --Larry Clark quoted in TIME OUT NEW YORK, January 21-28, 1999|
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