Magazine article Screen International

Marfa Girl

Magazine article Screen International

Marfa Girl

Article excerpt

Dir/scr: Larry Clark. US. 2012. 106mins

Every new Larry Clark film breeds controversy and this one will be no exception. Targeting an audience of old flower children who fondly remember their once-upon-a-time free love slogans and under-18 adolescents who ask for nothing better than to believe in them, the celebrated photographer turned film director, using once again a cast of virtual unknowns, focuses this time on Marfa, a small Texan town near the Mexican border, to embark on a session of sexual therapy that may sound old-fashioned to some, daring to others and far too indulgently shaped to most.

With a more rigorous structure, less repetition and a bit more interest in what's happening to his characters under their insouciant surface, the film might actually be an interesting portrait of a small American community.

Adding to the controversy, there is also Clark's decision to release the film exclusively on his website (www.larryclark.com) and charge the equivalent of a ticket price for an access. Those familiar with Clark's record track will certainly wonder how is this unlimited availability of the film going to sit with all the various attempts made in the past to clamp some kind of restriction or censorship on his work.

Despite his age, 69 year-old Clark's knack for scandalising remains intact and the marathon of copulations unleashed here is bound to raise more than just a few eyebrows. He points his camera at a bunch of teenagers constantly engaging in sex, for them a pleasurable pastime which helps to dull the impending boredom induced by life in a small town. Emotional involvement is hardly a necessity in these circumstances - it all looks more like a sportive activity with performances to be improved by exploring in depth technical details such as the role of a woman's clitoris or a man's foreskin. Commitment is not essential, certainly not for any length of time.

Chosen as a meeting place between aspiring artists, white middle class residents, and its Mexican-American community consisting of recent or second generation immigrants, the Marfa location looks like a stagnant little place significantly cut up in the middle by railway tracks There is preciously little to do in it and Clark's characters have indeed very few options to choose from. …

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