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Louise Clark

Louise Clark

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Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Outlaw photographer-turned-filmmaker Larry Clark influenced the likes of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Gus Van Sant long before he directed a picture. Inspired by his seminal photo essay, "Tulsa" (1971), they stole shamelessly in creating respectively "Taxi Driver" (1976), "Rumble Fish" (1983) and "Drugstore Cowboy" (1989), acknowledging their debt to Clark's realistic portrayal of the Tulsa drug and street milieu of the 1960s and early 70s. Clark was injecting amphetamines at the age of 16 and, after a tour of Vietnam, returned to his boyhood home to record its seamier side, snapping photographs off and on from 1962 to 1971. He shocked with pictures of penises protruding from pants and needles hanging from junkies' arms, but his own wild ways were responsible for his distinctive oeuvre and also contributed to his slow growth as an artist. Drug addiction and alcoholism got in the way as did several brushes with the law, including a 19-month prison stay for shooting a man in the arm during a card game. As a child, Clark had once had his picture taken with Walt Disney, but Miramax, a division of Disney, would have to create an independent company (Excalibur) to distribute his debut film...

Outlaw photographer-turned-filmmaker Larry Clark influenced the likes of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Gus Van Sant long before he directed a picture. Inspired by his seminal photo essay, "Tulsa" (1971), they stole shamelessly in creating respectively "Taxi Driver" (1976), "Rumble Fish" (1983) and "Drugstore Cowboy" (1989), acknowledging their debt to Clark's realistic portrayal of the Tulsa drug and street milieu of the 1960s and early 70s. Clark was injecting amphetamines at the age of 16 and, after a tour of Vietnam, returned to his boyhood home to record its seamier side, snapping photographs off and on from 1962 to 1971. He shocked with pictures of penises protruding from pants and needles hanging from junkies' arms, but his own wild ways were responsible for his distinctive oeuvre and also contributed to his slow growth as an artist. Drug addiction and alcoholism got in the way as did several brushes with the law, including a 19-month prison stay for shooting a man in the arm during a card game.

As a child, Clark had once had his picture taken with Walt Disney, but Miramax, a division of Disney, would have to create an independent company (Excalibur) to distribute his debut film "Kids" (1995) in order to distance it from the parent studio. Called everything from "a masterpiece" to "nihilistic pornography," it bore a far greater resemblance to "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) than to "Pocahontas" (1995) and proved Clark had not lost his power to shock. Armed with a script penned by a then-19-year old Harmony Korine, the director zeroed in on "kidspeak" and teenage culture, following a group 90s youths throughout the course of one NYC day as the specter of AIDS hovered over them. A telling portrait of children growing up without proper parental guidance, "Kids" is utterly matter-of-fact, brutal and nonjudgmental about its sexual frankness and violence. Clark was able to gain his charges' trust, drawing phenomenal performances from nonactors, particularly his stars Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce and Chloe Sevigny, all of whom have gone on to acting careers.

Clark returned to the streets of Tulsa for "Another Day in Paradise" (1998), based on the book by Eddie Little. More conventional and arguably more satisfying than his debut film, it was a bit raw and unflinching for some tastes but found an audience ready to respond to its gritty aesthetic. Featuring an emotionally engaging Melanie Griffith in an uncharacteristic, deglamorized role and a sometimes over-the-top James Woods, this more traditional narrative seemed to spring directly from the director's Midwestern background and experience of the renegade life, depicting a surrogate family brought together by drugs and crime and its eventual unraveling. Natasha Gregson Wagner registered sympathetically in the most tragic role, but the real revelation was Vincent Kartheiser as Bobbie, previously only in children's films.

Clark's downbeat but surprisingly warm slice of life on the edge proved an anomaly. His third feature was "Bully" (2001), an affecting and disturbingly nihilistic portrait of contemporary teenagers in southern Florida. Inspired by a true story, the film depicted the antisocial behavior of the tyrannical Bobby Kent who was eventually murdered by his best friend. Clark displayed a taut control over the material and elicited strong performances from his cast (including Brad Renfro, Rachel Miner and Nick Stahl) and the film earned considerable critical acclaim.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Catamount Killing, The (1974) Iris Loring
2.
 The Perils of Pauline (1947) Black maid
3.
 To Have and Have Not (1944) Waitress
4.
 CafĂ© Metropole (1937) Native girl
5.
 Nothing Sacred (1937) Walker's girl
6.
 Helter Skelter (1976) Susan Struthers
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