Charlie Lyne is best known for his documentaries Beyond Clueless and the recent BBC Halloween special Fear Itself. Though most of his early supporters will know his biting wit from the cult film blog Ultra Culture.
Charlie is no stranger to Harmony Korine’s work, being one of his most vocal champions in England, he’s organised the UK premiere of Trash Humpers and Spring Breakers and praised the director for being a true original. His appearance at the Harmony Korine weekender at the London Short Film Festival makes total sense.
We sat down with Charlie to talk Gummo, Korine’s mystery and his latest project Paint Drying, which is making the BBFC watch paint dry to look at the way film is certified.
So, how did you get introduced to Gummo?
When I was about fifteen, a friend of mine was on holiday in America and had bought every copy of Gummo from a record store, he then proceeded to distribute them amongst our friend group. It’s still my treasured copy.
The film is being screened on VHS today. Do you think it’s weird that it still hasn’t had a DVD or Blu Ray re-release?
There’s such a beautiful separation in the purposefully degraded VHS material and the gorgeous post hurricane section, watching on VHS you lose that. It definitely needs a Criterion release.
We’re you shocked the first time you saw it?
I wasn’t shocked because I’d been pre-warned about the more wild stuff. I was more surprised by the propulsive force tying in all those elements together, it was an easy watch for me.
Do you still think there are things to discover? Korine’s alludes to there being no overall meaning in his films.
Nah, I just think he hates talking about his work and I admire than rather than Terence Malick’ing it he just adds all this bullshit and tells different origin stories.
But do you think there was a sense he was just winging it on Gummo?
I’ve got the Gummo screenplay and you see that this is not someone heading out to a small town with a camera and filming whatever, it was carefully mapped. It’s got what all his best films have, a very consistent rhythm to it, which is why funny that people think of him as a scattershot filmaker.
Do you feel that the film ever becomes too salacious?
No, I don’t think any of the representations within the film are unfair or discriminatory. There’s a conversation to be had in how the performances were got, although he’s really not someone who swoops in, takes what he needs and then swans back to his fancy friends.
Do you feel there’s been an influence of Gummo in recent films?
It’s hard to be influenced by it as it has very specific traits, it hasn’t been absorbed into any Hollywood tradition to be honest.
Do you feel Korine has improved or lagged since Gummo?
I really like Spring Breakers and Trash Humpers, it’s like Gummo and has its own world.
How is your latest project Paint Drying working out?
I’m trying to make the DCP (Digital Cinema Print – industry screening format), I’ve found no record of anyone making a ten hour DCP, whomever I talked to is baffled but time will tell. It’s getting screened next Monday.
Find out more about Charlie’s work at http://www.charlielyne.com/