[critical] THE SMELL OF US

Mettons we immediately agree. I don’t necessarily LOVED the film.

BY, Larry Clark and his work are of an incredible richness. And if I am not recognized at all in this film (I’m 31 years old), it would be forgetting a little quickly that my youth was marked by the presence of the filmmaker. I suggest you to be able to better address this very dense, THE SMELL OF US, dive with me in my memories, and going back to 1999, and my first Larry Clark : Another Day in Paradise.


Honestly, I was at the time, not at all a film buff. The film was for me, just a hobby, a fleeting pleasure without reflection.

Saturday, June 26, 1999. Feast of the cinema. 10 francs for the place, chic alors! I have just turned 16 years old, and, too happy of this new freedom is to be reserved to the rooms of cinema, I rushed to the only movie that I would not have had the right to see 3 months earlier : Another Day in Paradise. And there, joy. Sex, full-time, tits, foufounes, people who fuck. Cooooool. But they fit also hands, a lot… Weird. Prostitution, hard drugs… what is It ??? (I’m only 16 years old).

And then they are irrational, propose plans, but do not try to prick and to fuck. Ooh there it is unhealthy, sense of hearing, it is incestuous, aaaah, I take expensive. Or is the moral ??????

In SHORT. I don’t understand the film and concluded vexed that I had not intended. like THE SMELL OF US

18 – BULLY

But it is impossible to forget. 2 years later, I am this time, officially cinephile (the famous card UGC) and, irrepressibly attracted, I return consciously theatrical discover Bully. “by the director ofAnonother Day in Paradise

And there, slap ! It doesn’t come from breasts and foufounes, because I know now. I’ve seen it in real life. Rather, it is the deep feeling of rejection/attraction of this reality, which disturbs me – even today. Because this film offers a vision of the cold, stupid, trivial in nature and of youth. In which I had no right to acknowledge me (perverse into the abyss), while being intrinsically fascinated. Larry Clark already uses a language almost unique, which rearranges the elements specific to the cinema (narration, suspense, framing, direction of actors – all perfect, photo, music, rhythm) to engage directly with the viewer by offering a reflection obscure itself. Cinema-Truth, which does not leave indifferent. The image of THE SMELL OF US


2003 – Larry Clark (that already?) has come to present a film in my cinema. The opportunity to explain this particular report that it interview with the youth, which legitimise – only his eyes and those of the spectators French, obviously – this desire to capture more closely the essence of this youth. Ha, well, okay. Me mad in fact. (innocence of youth)

New slap yet, deeply disturbing : KEN PARK. Clark abandoned any notion of narrative, suspense, or logic story, in favour of a naturalism, existing by and for the medium of cinema.

It thus creates an aesthetic genius of its own, which will be permanently attached to it (for me) to this painting of the youth of suburban bored and betrays her lack of perspective in the fleeting pleasures. Impossible for me to see some porn, or some indie american, without thinking of Ken Park. And if I have not totally adhered to the film itself (in particular its end, or a few hostage-taking and emotional) it is clear that I have indélébilement marked, in the same way that THE SMELL OF US

31 years ago – THE SMELL OF US.

The film of Larry Clark follows a group of young people. Parisian, bourgeois, etc. Young people. Very young.

Me, I’m no longer the spectator of Ken Park, Bully, or Anonother Day in Paradise. THE SMELL OF US does not to me returns no image of myself, because I is not intended.

Difficult, or even impossible for me, to criticize the reality of the film. Larry Clark does it again managed to give an account of the youth ? I am not (and will never be) qualified to criticize this aspect.

So I’m going to focus my attention on my perception of the filmmaker, and quickly conjure up (it should, like Notebooks, devote a lot of pages in the complete dissection of the film) so I was troubled in the film

What impressed me in THE SMELL OF US :

– the representation of sex. Disturbing. As in the rest of its films, the sex provides pleasure very ephemeral, and is above all a means of expression. Them, but also, and more disturbing – with the adults. Each interaction is thus, a ratio of communication/dominance/submission/perversion. In the end, the same as the one that maintains the filmmaker with his actors.

– the plastic film uses several means to reproduce the reality. of those he is filming. THE SMELL OF US tied at all times without logic or consistency, image resolutions, video formats, the tools for capturing (iPhone, GoPro, camera, DV, etc…). Larry Clark is as well, a visual language which appears to me to be of a certain generation. Successful, not successful ? In any case, fascinating.

– The direction of actors, singular. Initially disturbing, but quickly assimilated. Larry Clark captures a certain kind of noise, standing by filming the group, and then extract all of a sudden some intimate thoughts, which give body to each of the characters. These young actors reach to the final form of perfection, by the naturalness with which they show themselves to the image. Impressive.

– relocation : suburb american… THE SMELL OF US IS Paris. However, the same lack of well-being emanates from these young people. A form of universality emanates from the film, in an echo of his previous works. Again, it is impressive.

Each of these aspects merge with the other.

Sex can take place anywhere in Paris. The actors are filming them, wander around the city without purpose or, on the contrary, seek to specific locations. The sex is filmed sometimes way gonzo, sometimes pro, and the simple discussions. Paris is shown as seen by an ordinary tourist, but also a view of the interior, more underground.

LARRY CLARK, the vampire

Like any found-footage fashion, a character follows and films constantly. But far from being a process purely scripted and inexplicable, it is rather a way of addressing the metaphysical vision that the author has of himself.

This boy – seemingly the youngest – who is filming all these antics, these drugs, these moments are empty, these humiliations… It is Larry Clark. A Larry Clark of 14-year ubiquitous that informs about the report of the author’s youth, and gives us several facet of himself, in adult characters. This is what is for me, THE SMELL OF US :

A self-portrait of a vampire whose immortality lies in this need to capture, absorb the energy and essence juvenile.

Larry Clark this vampire, absorbs several different energies, and is shown in several forms.

– this old gay loner who must suck the physical energy, and left to found stripped, wounded, humiliated

– this predator who assumes his attraction immoral, and so steals the self-esteem of these young people low

– the one who, spotted, leaked, thief of innocence, which does not assume. (the driver)

– this old lady, these parents, who, in seeking to transmit a cultural heritage and build and, indirectly, the youth, aspire all desire to build by yourself.

– The mother of Matt Crazy, obsessed and compulsive, an addict (to the affection, to substances, had sex)… Irremediably attracted by his offspring, his spawn (ironically, the mother of Matt) It consumes the hope of an identification with a parental presence.

– this young teen, asexual, and passive, which attempts to capture the essence juvenile. For what him to ask his friends… A movie like THE SMELL OF US, Bully, Kids, Another day In Paradise or Ken Park, I think.

Larry Clark is also under the other two forms merged, less harmful, more passive

Rockstar. The real Larry Clark, who lives openly in the middle of this youth, and is accepted as such. A character sum of those previously mentioned, exhausted and conscious of its impact, living a form of purgatory in the midst of his victims.

Michael Pitt (a young Bully) finally, who embodies the fate of a “victim” of Larry Clark. A fusion of abstract of director-en-scene and of those he is filming. A terrifying reflection of what young showed in THE SMELL OF US, he having been there in the past, for a moment, before you become nothing more than a shadow of itself.


A million other things to flow in THE SMELL OF US… But I am not best placed to talk about it.

I sincerely invite you to leave your opinion or analysis of the film HERE, share your feelings, positive or negative (or otherwise) of that object is already cult.

In partnership with the Comoedia-Lyon

The other movies of the January 14, 2015


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