Kids (1995), directed by Larry Clark and written by Harmony Korine, takes us into the everyday lives of a group of rebellious teenagers in New York City whose excessive use of alcohol and marijuana is taken to an entire next level of experimentation with their newest coveted drug, sex.
In the opening scene, 17-year-old, Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick), is in a passionate make-out scene with 14-year-old virgin girl (Sarah Henderson) on her bed, trying to persuade her to have sex with him. “It’ll feel good…” Telly said, “You know I care about you… It won’t hurt.”
In competition with his friend Casper (Justin Pierce) to ‘deflower’ the most virgins, they received even more satisfaction after they had sex just from praising each other and talking in depth about it.
When Kids first came out in 1995, it caused quite a controversy with critics because it was viewed as disturbing and exploitive with the strong scenes of forced sex and drug abuse for such young characters.
However, Larry Clark and Harmony Korine’s message of how uncontrollable, excessive and vulnerable teenagers were to the feeling of eroticism can be taken metaphorically.
The act of sex in Kids is portrayed as an easily obtainable free drug, producing similar out-of-body effects to alcohol or marijuana. This can be taken metaphorically in a way that the excessive relationship to eroticism in the teenagers correlates with the relationship of eroticism to humankind, having unrepressed sexual desires and nymphomania.
We could assume that Larry Clark and Harmony Korine do not see nymphomania as a ‘disorder’, but rather a human phenomenon meant to be explored -- The specific chemical reaction to eroticism in our brains inevitably creates itself into an addictive drug.
“When you’re young, not much matters. When you find something that you care about, then that’s all you got. When you go to sleep at night you dream of pussy. When you wake up it’s the same thing. It’s there in your face. You can’t escape it. Sometimes when you’re young the only place to go is inside. That’s just it - fucking is what I love. Take that away from me and I really got nothing.” - Telly
Kids was filmed within a six week period in the summer of 1994 and according to an interview with Jeff Pang, one of the small acting roles played, many of the party scenes were film unscripted. Within this interview, Pang also publicized that in certain party scenes the “kids” were actually getting drunk, smoking blunts and partaking in foreplay while the camera kept rolling.
director LARRY CLARK
director of photography ERIC ALAN EDWARDS
writer HARMONY KORINE
cast CHLOE SEVIGNY, ROSARIO DAWSON, LEO FITZPATRICK, JUSTIN PIERCE AND JON ABRAHAMS
Text by Ellen Grace