Jeff Gordinier
December 29, 1995 AT 05:00 AM EST

The first sign that Harmony Korine is a born storyteller: You can’t tell when he’s making stuff up. In conversation the 21-year-old screenwriter might tell you, with supreme nonchalance, that he knows a woman with hair on her tongue—or that he’s leaving his apartment because right-wing extremists are spying on him. Tall tales aside, there was nothing phony about Kids, based on his grim script about teens slogging through sex and sedation in Manhattan. Forget its fling with controversy; the film confirmed Korine’s gift for street talk and grunge drama—skills he’ll apply to Ken Park, a California counterpart to Kids. In March, he directs Gummo. After that? ”I’ve been thinking about quitting,” he says. Don’t believe it.

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