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Julien Donkey-Boy (1992)

A movie directed by Harmony Korine

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"Julien Donkey-Boy" - Harmony Korine's Dogme 95 Film

  • Jul 21, 2004
Flashing a giant mouthful of fake gold teeth that he received as a present, Julien (an almost indescribable Ewen Bremner, better known as "Spud" from Trainspotting) aimlessly and shamelessly wanders the depressing streets of his hometown of Queens in his own little schizophrenic world of make-believe, childish song, and unanswered questions. See and REALLY EXPERIENCE Julien taking a bath, all the while singing and mumbling uncoherently to himself, watch him go to work in Queens as an aide for blind students, see him put on a bra and underwear and wrestle his brother, watch his family go to church, listen and watch him talk to his dead mother on the phone, and finally, watch the breakdown of his damaged & disinegrated pysche as the unthinkable happens to Julien. The film jumps from one weird scene to the next, all in somewhat of a jumble. It is like you are inside of Julien's own schizophrenic mind as times and at others you are just a silent and invisible onlooker. Julien lives in a low to middle class & HIGHLY dysfunctional family with his pregnant, tutu wearing sister, Pearl (Chloe Sevigny), his wanna-be wrestler brother Chris (Evan Neumann), his oblivious to it all, crazy, dog loving grandmother (Joyce Korine, the director's true to life grandmother), and above all, the patriarch of the family... Chris, Julien and Pearl's sadistic, drunken, cough syrup swilling, gas-mask-wearing father(a fabulous Werner Herzog). The story of Julien is based on director Harmony Korine's ("Gummo" & screenwriter of "Kids") own schizophrenic uncle and the location where the movie was shot is the actual house that his uncle grew up in. Thusly, "Julien Donkey-Boy" was made according to the tenets of Dogme 95, the largely European movement based around the "Dogme Vow of Chastity," which eschews, among many other things, any kind of artificial lighting, costumes or props. The one thing, above all that I find amazing about these types of films like the Dogme 95 group is this filmaking isn't anything "NEW" or "GROUNDBREAKING". Film makers have been doing these types of movies FOR YEARS and YEARS. The change is that now we as viewers get to see experimental & different genres of films. It's just that with LOTS money and the need for something different to be actually "VIEWED" in this century is what is NEW. "EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN..." The way that the movie is shot is what is so interesting to me. Not the story, plot or cohesiveness, of which there is very little, but the sheer "way" of filming this movie and others like it. Shot entirely with digital video and hidden cameras on the actor's person whilst the non-sequitur "scenes"; like the scene where Pearl is buying secondhand baby clothes, are ALL shot "off the cuff" and true to life. The other people in the scenes weren't even aware that they were being filmed at the time! Post-production, the digital video is slowed down in places and given a herky-jerky home movie/Super 8 quality to it. There are also some beautiful scenes that are given an organic quality with green and gold "washes" over them, such as the scene with Pearl in a field of wheat singing to herself. There are also some very dark scenes that are given a cold quality with purple and blue "washes" to them, like the scenes of Julien playing God and Hitler, and, of course, the tragic ending scene to it all... Is this a film for everyone? Is the story truly "enjoyable"? Of course not. But if you enjoy watching the odd and obscure you will like "Julien Donkey-Boy" Happy Watching!

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More Julien Donkey-Boy (1992) reviews
review by . April 11, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****    You know, the longer I go on in life; the less faith I develop in the opinions of professional movie critics. Here we have wealthy consumerists who get paid to evaluate art. We do need such people - as I feel they keep the entertainment industry in order - but too often do people look to them for complete guidance. When it comes to movies like those of Harmony Korine - which the critics tend to revile - I think it would be wise of most viewers to see the movie …
review by . May 10, 2006
When you watch this movie you are suppose to see the effects of schizophrenia on family life. YOU AREN'T SUPPOSED TO FEEL SCHIZOPHRENIC!!!!! My God, I didn't think anything could be worst than Gummo, but I was wrong. At least Gummo was funny, stupid and lame as all hell, but funny. The coolest part in this was the black albino rapping. Watching this movie I wanted to kill myself. Put a bomb in my mouth and sing "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood" until it explodes. I also know some hip indie …
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Sheila Chilcote-Collins ()
Ranked #156
I enjoy writing my own reviews, listmanias, 'So You'd Like To's' on Amazon and love reading other people's thoughts. I own in excess of 1000 movies, 800+ albums, & 500+ books. … more
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About this movie


Explores the life of a schizophrenic named Julien, and the effects that his disease has on his family and those around him.
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Director: Harmony Korine
Screen Writer: Harmony Korine
DVD Release Date: March 20, 2001
Runtime: 94 minutes
Studio: New Line Home Video
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