Harmony Korine’s “Aggro Dr1ft” received a 10-minute standing ovation after its premiere at Venice Film Festival, despite a flurry of walkouts.
Though some audience members left as soon as the 80-minute experimental action film finished (and at least 25 departed before that), Korine’s hardcore fans stuck around for a rousing 10-minute ovation at the midnight screening. As Korine greeted the crowd and did a happy dance, chants of “Harmony! Harmony! Harmony!” rang out. Each time the applause started to die down, Korine waved his hands in the air like a conductor, and the cheers started up again.
More from Variety
Strippers twerking, demon-like crime lords chanting “dance bitch” and Travis Scott’s major-role debut are just a taste of what “Aggro Dr1ft” had to offer — which was not everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, the premiere was not the first time “Aggro Dr1ft” prompted walkouts. At a press screening on Friday night, at least 20 people left during the film.
In addition to Korine’s already strong fanbase, it was clear that Scott drew his supporters to the premiere as well. When the rapper first appeared on screen about halfway into the film, the crowd erupted in applause. However, Scott was not in attendance at the premiere.
The “Spring Breakers” and “Beach Bum” director’s latest feature follows an assassin on a mission to kill a crime lord, according to the film’s synopsis. In addition to Scott, it stars Spanish actor Jordi Mollà, best known for his breakout role alongside Penélope Cruz in 1992’s “Jamón, Jamón” and his work in American projects like the film “Blow” and series “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.” It was shot entirely in infrared by cinematographer Arnaud Potier.
In Variety’s review of “Aggro Dr1ft,” chief film critic Peter Debruge wrote, “This is the first movie I’ve seen that doesn’t feel like it was meant to be watched; instead, it was designed to wash over you — or maybe just to unspool on one of the many screens illuminated in your field of vision, while your focus ricochets between it and whatever else is competing for your attention. As Brian De Palma’s ‘Scarface’ became a touchstone cultural reference for the immigrant and hip-hop communities, so too could ‘Aggro Dr1ft’ connect with audiences who see themselves (or their aspirational selves) in its attitude and imagery.”
Earlier on Saturday, Korine showed up to “Aggro Dr1ft’s” press conference wearing a devilish mask inspired by the film with a cigar in hand. “We’re wearing the masks because they’re comfortable,” Korine joked. “It’s giving me a scalp massage.”
Korine has a long history at Venice, having screened his directorial debut, “Gummo,” at the fest in 1997. Though the film was not well received by critics at first, it won a special mention from Venice’s FIPRESCI jury. “Spring Breakers” also had its world premiere at Venice in 2012, where it received the Future Film Festival Digital Award. “Aggro Dr1ft” is screening out of competition at this year’s Venice.
“Aggro Dr1ft” will next screen at TIFF and New York Film Festival.
Best of Variety