Spring Breakers represents one of the most cohesive, accessible, and narrative films from divisive and challenging filmmaker Harmony Korine. It also marks the most daring and viewer-challenging performance of James Franco’s impossible-to-map acting career. This intersection landed the film in a weird space for critics and audiences when it was released in 2012. Some dismissed the film as banal, self-indulgent exercise of an unfocused artistic vision and others elevated as an ethereal and almost incomparable visual essay about modern materialism and spiritual emptiness, the visual poetry of Malick unleashed on dispirited capitalist rejects seeking meaning on the landscape of pop-culture consumerism.
A new video essay from YouTube channel Cinemusing takes a deep dive into this second interpretation. In the vidoe, which you can see below, we see the contextualization of Korine’s challenging career, his vision and influence traced to Jean Luc Godard, Michael Mann, and Korine’s number one champion Werner Herzog and a thorough examination of Korine’s exploration of images through the use of images.
These days, YouTube film analysts—like podcasts and, *sigh*, film blogs—are a dime a dozen, but, since there’s a growing imperative to find, support, and elevate analytical and critical quality in a critical landscape plagued with white noise, I like to champion work that shows actual work, and this budding series already has the markers of effort and passion from the very beginning.
Check out the video below and, if you would like to see more in the series, consider dropping a few coins in the channel creator Josh Lewis’s Patreon.
Featured Image: A24