Ken Park

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This article is about a film. For the legal case involving Ken Parks, see R. v. Parks.
Ken Park
Ken Park.jpg
German festival release poster
Directed by Larry Clark
Ed Lachman
Produced by Kees Kasander
Jean-Louis Piel
Written by Larry Clark
Harmony Korine
Starring Adam Chubbuck
James Bullard
James Ransone
Stephen Jasso
Tiffany Limos
Maeve Quinlan
Cinematography Larry Clark
Ed Lachman
Edited by Andrew Hafitz
Production
company
Kasander Film Company
Cinéa
Distributed by Vitagraph Films (US)
A-Film Distribution
(Netherlands)
Fortissimo Films
Release dates
  • August 31, 2002 (2002-08-31) (Telluride)
  • September 10, 2002 (2002-09-10) (Toronto)
  • April 3, 2003 (2003-04-03) (Netherlands)
  • October 8, 2003 (2003-10-08) (France)
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Netherlands
France
Language English
Budget $1.3 million

Ken Park is a 2002 drama-erotic film written by Harmony Korine, who based it on Larry Clark's journals and stories. The film was directed by Clark and Ed Lachman. The film is an international co-production of the United States, the Netherlands, and France. The film revolves around the abusive and/or dysfunctional home lives of several teenagers, set in the city of Visalia, California.

Plot[edit]

The opening of the film depicts teenager Ken Park (nicknamed "krap nek") skateboarding across Visalia. He arrives at a skate park, where he casually sits in the middle of it, sets up a camcorder, and shoots himself in the head with a handgun. His death is used to set up the rest of the film, which follows the lives of four other teens he used to hang out with, shortly before the suicide.

  • Shawn is the most stable of the four main characters. He has an ongoing sexual relationship with his girlfriend's mother, Rhonda, throughout the story. He casually socializes with their family, who, including his girlfriend, are completely unaware of the situation.
  • Claude fends off physical and emotional abuse from his alcoholic father while trying to take care of his pregnant mother, who never does anything to defend him. Claude's father detests him for being insufficiently manly, but after coming home drunk one night, he attempts to perform oral sex on him, causing Claude to run away from home.
  • Peaches is a girl living alone with her extremely religious father, who fixates on her as the embodiment of her deceased mother. When her father catches her and her boyfriend, Curtis, on her bed about to have sex, he beats the boy and savagely disciplines her, including forcing her to participate in a quasi-incestuous wedding ritual with him.
  • Tate is an unstable and sadistic adolescent living with his grandparents, whom he resents and frequently verbally abuses. He is shown engaging in autoerotic asphyxiation during masturbation. He eventually murders his grandparents in their bed, in retaliation for his grandfather "cheating" at Scrabble and his grandmother for "invading his privacy"; the act arouses him sexually.

The film cuts frequently between subplots, with no overlap of characters or events until the end. As Tate is being arrested, Shawn, Claude, and Peaches meet and have sex as a threesome. The ending finally reveals the motive behind Ken Park's suicide: he had impregnated his girlfriend, who responded to his suggestion of an abortion by asking if he regretted his mother not aborting him. Concluding that he did, he skates off to kill himself.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Clark attempted to write the first script for Ken Park, basing it on personal experiences and people with whom he had grown up. Dissatisfied with his own draft, he hired Harmony Korine to pen the screenplay. Clark ultimately used most of Korine's script, but rewrote the ending.[citation needed] The film was given a $1.3 million budget. The arrangement was to film using digital video, but Clark and Lachman used 35mm film instead.[citation needed]

Distribution[edit]

Although it was sold for distribution to some 30 countries,[1] the film was not shown in the United Kingdom after director Larry Clark assaulted Hamish McAlpine, the head of the UK distributor for the film, Metro Tartan. Clark is alleged to have been angry over McAlpine's remarks about 9/11. Clark was arrested and spent several hours in custody, and McAlpine was left with a broken nose.[2] The film has not been released in the United States since its initial showing at the Telluride Film Festival in 2002. Clark says that this is because of the producer's failure to get copyright releases for the music used.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Police quiz critic after raid By Kirsty Needham, The Age, July 4, 2003. Accessed May 30, 2007
  2. ^ Article in the BBC Collective
  3. ^ "The Nerve Interview: Larry Clark". Nerve. 2006-09-20. 

External links[edit]