As “Spring Breakers” continues its victory lap on Blu-ray and DVD today, following its standing as Harmony Korine‘s biggest critical and commercial success, the “Gummo” and “Mister Lonely” director’s efforts stands to reach a new audience, and rightly so. His films are singular, woozy, romantic portraits of Southern life, but a look back at his bloodline reveals a similar focus as the work of Korine’s father finds its way online.
“He would go and make small films, kind of like what Harry Smith was doing with music, my dad would do with video at the time with his partner Blaine,” Korine recounted to Death & Taxes about his father, Sol Korine, and his docu-series for PBS, “Southbound.” Produced, shot, and directed with filmmaker Blaine Dunlap, the 1981 series aimed to document Southern roots music in the U.S., and its first episode, entitled “Mouth Music,” is a wonderful primer.
Covering Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina, it moves swiftly across a host of distinctive characters and styles — from the vocal gymnastics of auctioneering and hollerin’ to more discernible forms such as jump-rope chants and military marching songs. Sol’s style — oddly lyrical, visually inventive, and invested — definitely recalls his son’s later cinematic offerings; starting with this, hopefully more opportunities to investigate Sol’s work are forthcoming.
Check out the premiere episode of “Southbound” below. [Black Book Mag]