In an interview last year, screenwriter Harmony Korine said it would be impossible to make Kids, Larry Clark’s infamous portrayal of a group of teenagers growing up in New York’s Lower East Side and all the sex, drugs and strife that came with that, today. White Girl could be about to prove that it’s still possible to make films as shocking and controversial two decades later.
It follows Leah, who’s about to start her second year at NYU and moves to the slowly gentrifying area of Ridgewood, Queens. There she meets local drug dealer Blue and begins a relationship with him that sees her having to flog his coke when’s caught in an undercover sting.
In an interview with i-D director Elizabeth Wood, whose real-life experiences the film is based on, said it’s already provoked some strong reactions from people who’ve been to early screenings. “Whether in a review, or hate mail I was getting, or people walking out and yelling, they found it so overtly sexual as to be unrealistic and just for shock value,” Wood said, pointing out it was mostly white men who were offended by what they were seeing.
In the trailer alone, there’s more scenes of drug-taking and sex (some of it very public) to lose track of. Whether White Girl lives up to the lofty comparisons being made remains to be seen, but it looks set to be one of the year’s most talked about, controversial films.