Monday, 10 December 2012

Richard Kern - Fingered

Richard Kern (born 1954 in North Carolina) is a New York underground filmmaker, writer and photographer. He first came to underground prominence as part of the underground cultural explosion in the East Village of New York City in the 1980s, with erotic and experimental films featuring underground personalities of the time such as Lydia Lunch, David Wojnarowicz, Sonic Youth, Kembra Pfahler, and Henry Rollins in movies like "The Right Side of My Brain" and "Fingered." Like many of the musicians around him, Kern had a deep interest in the aesthetics of extreme sex, violence, and perversion and was one of the leading lights of the movement which Nick Zedd coined the Cinema of Transgression.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Kern

FINGERED is an art film that's constructed like a regular movie. Lydia Lunch plays a phone sex operator/prostitute that gets together with a guy she's been on the phone with. After a semi-hardcore sex scene, the violence begins. The man cuts someone's throat for looking at Lydia's character, then they go for a drive. The two abduct a hitch hiker and rape her in a junkyard. Written by shemp77
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0091052/plotsummary


‘The Cinema of Transgression’ was a small underground film scene in New York. Richard Kern along with Nick Zedd were the most prominent and widely known directors from that scene. ”Fingered” is possibly Richard Kern’s most shocking and unsettling short film. It features punk rock queen Lydia Lunch as the phone sex operator. After a violent and explicit sexual encounter with one of her phone sex clients, the two set out on a rampage of murder, brutality and attempted rape leaving the viewer aroused and disgusted.
Christian Storm: I was reading some of the reviews and one of the main critiques was that these people were shitty actors. Was that a secondary care for you?
Richard Kern: It's funny you just said that because I never thought about that. It wasn't the same kind of approach, and if I was making one now, I still wouldn't think about it. I never thought about that. But yeah, they are shitty actors. It's all your state of mind when you're looking at them, everybody in the movies is pretty real.

Yeah, the things they were doing were real.
Believe me, in Fingered, Marty Nation was exactly like that, no exaggeration. The guy who's lifting weights, he was like that. Everybody was real. Lydia Lunch was like that. Lung Leg was like that. The story was based on Lydia and Marty's travels when she was 16 and they would hitchhike and get picked up by somebody, and Marty would take his knife out and start stabbing and cutting up the upholstery in the car, looking at the guy. All those guys were really scary. The guy who's lifting weights in it got killed about two years ago, somebody shot him finally.

You were pretty prolific in that time period, when these films were made. Were you just obsessed with making these films?
Yeah, it was what I did and I had a lot of ideas and I had all the equipment, which wasn't much, it was a Super-8 camera and three lights and I had a big apartment to shoot in and plenty of people who wanted to do stuff. And I wouldn't call them actors, I'd call them performer types. Nothing was scripted, the closest thing we had to a script was Fingered and You Killed Me First and those were just, "This is what's gonna happen in this scene. You're gonna say this. Or you say something like this." Lydia and Marty in Fingered would just make up dialogue as they went. They would play off of each other. I would tell them what we were gonna shoot tomorrow and they could say what they wanted. It wasn't traditional filmmaking, by any means. 

I'm really interested in understanding the evolution from doing these nihilistic films to the stuff you do now, which seems a little bit more gentle and subtle.
Fingered was one of John Waters' favorite films, and I hung out with him a few times and he said, "It's interesting to be an angry young man when you're young, but when you're old you just look like an idiot to still be angry." A lot of those films were made when I was a drug addict, and when I got clean the only thing I could afford to do was take photos. And I started taking photos of everybody I knew and tried to get them naked. And it just evolved into this other thing.