Larry Clark’s Love for Semi-Disaffected French Kids

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Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Where does photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark go now that the initial shock of his teen-lusting 1995 film Kids has been subsumed into the art/fashion/media vortex of Ryan McGinley's photos, Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, and even Miley Cyrus's postpubescent twerking? To Paris, of course.

In recent years, the 71-year-old Clark fell in with the disaffected teen skateboarding crew that gathers outside Paris's Musée d'Art Moderne. (He'd been spending time there putting together his first French retrospective, Kiss the Past Hello.) It  was as though he'd found the Gallic equivalent of Chloë Sevigny, Leo Fitzpatrick, Rosario Dawson, and those other adorable Astor Place urchins who ended up populating Kids almost 20 years ago. The result is the forthcoming The Smell of Us, his first foreign-language feature, which is about — get ready for this Clark breakthrough — beautiful self-destructive teens. But this time in Paris.

In real life, Clark's Paris gang doesn't sound any more down-and-out than Kids's kids really were. Sevigny is from suburban Connecticut, Fitzpatrick from suburban New Jersey. Similarly, according to Dazed Digital, Lukas Ionesco, one of Smell's stars, is the son of a film director, while Angie Sherbourne, another, is already a successful model. And it doesn't sound as though they do anything more self-destructive than smoke a little weed — which, any Franco-American will tell you, is, compared to its American counterpart, kid stuff.