The Smell of Us (2014)
Director Larry Clark broke new ground with his controversial, yet understated movie Kids, and for the last two decades or so has been known as a cultural icon. That, and, um, as a creep with exploitative tendencies, sanctioned by the indie film community. It may be harsh, but watch his movies and check out his photography and you will understand.
The bitter taste aside, The Smell of Us is actually brutally accurate in the way it portrays our society’s fetishization and commodification of youth and beauty. Clark cannot be exempt from being complicit in this exploitation, but you also can’t blame him for handing our society a mirror. After all, the film refuses to concede any sympathy for the older generation that is desperately trying to suck the blood from the youngsters.
The Smell of Us isn’t treading new territory, but it’s also not as vapid as some disenchanted Clark aficionados will have us believe. The Kids Aren’t Alright. And Clark can still show us why. He may be part of the problem, but self-awareness is the first step.