Anyone seeing the previews for Larry Clark’s Kids knows pretty much what the content of the ﬁlm will be. Nothing will change when the movie begins, it will just be a more extended, more graphic account, both visual and verbal, of the short segments featured in the previews. Evidently, for a helluva lot of people this makes for exciting moviegoing. For some of us, having experienced most of what the movie had to oﬀer in a few short moments, the actual watching of the ﬁlm was boring. On one hand I had the sensation of wasting my time, being fucking bored out of my mind, on the other hand I struggled with blind rage, ﬁerce anger at the way this ﬁlm has been received and talked about. Not unlike the celebrated mystical book, The Celestine Prophecy, which chronicles the spiritual journey of a lone white man seeking truth and redemption in the Third World and which initially failed to convey in its advertising and promotional
material that it was indeed a ﬁction and not a true story, Kids is presented and talked about as though it were a documentary ethnographic ﬁlm sharing of the life of today’s reckless teenagers. In actuality, it is a ﬁction, the product of Clark’s imaginative obsession with adolescent hedonism. Speaking about the teenage actors in his review of the movie, a friend of the ﬁlmmaker Jim Lews writes that those actors tell a story in “performances so alive and on the money that one can easily forget that the ﬁlm is ﬁction, and that every line is carefully scripted.” Much of the hype around the ﬁlm encourages forgetfulness. And often the ﬁlm is presented as though it were Clark’s documentary expose.