21. Kids (1995)
Director: Larry Clark
Stars: Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, Chloe Sevigny, Rosario Dawson
L'enfant terrible Harmony Korine was 22 when he penned the screenplay for Kids at the behest of photographer-turned-filmmaker Larry Clark, whose work has always fixated on youth in the raw. They met in Washington Square Park, where Korine was skating.
The park appears in the film, when Telly and Casper, the main male characters, wander through for drugs, skateboarding, and a fight. Telly is 16 and HIV positive.
The film takes no stabs at analysis, it only documents the teens as they go about their business in Manhattan, getting high, having sex, talking, and in Telly's case, spreading HIV. The matter-of-fact attitude may be too cold for some (not to mention ethically questionable), but there's no question of the film's power, or of the comfort of Clark behind the camera. —RS