EXCLUSIVE: Larry Clark is set to shoot a French-language picture taking inspiration from the skateboarding scene around Paris’ Trocadero Gardens this summer, the first film for the Kids and Ken Park director shot outside the United States.
Entitled The Smell of Us, the feature will follow four self-destructive skateboarding friends with a nihilistic streak, who push their lives to the limit.
“It’s about a group of friends without ambition, feelings or values on a self-destructive path but it’s not clear why,” says Belgian producer Pierre-Paul Puljiz who operates under the Polyester banner.
Puljiz and Gérard Lacroix of Paris-based Morgane Production are in Cannes finalising finance for the project with a budget of €3 million. They previously produced Jonathan Caouette’s documentary Walk Way Renee.
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The duo’s connection with Clark stems from Puljiz’ 2002 documentary about the filmmaker and photographer, Larry Clark, Great American Rebel.
They were developing another documentary focusing on Clark’s famous photography book Tulsa — featuring previously unseen 16mm footage of his subjects — when the director asked them to work on the skateboarder film.
Puljiz recounts that Clark hit upon the idea of The Smell of Us while preparing his Kiss the Past Hello photography retrospective at Paris’ Museum of Modern Art in 2010.
“Because he was working late he would leave by the back door giving onto the area where the skateboarders hang out around the Trocadero,” says Puljiz. “Larry also met a lot of skateboarders when he presented Kids in Cannes in 1995 and has been interested in the scene since then.”
Clark has co-written the script with a 23-year-old poet called Mathieu Landais, whom the director befriended during his Paris sojourn.
Shooting will take place from this August in skateboarder hangouts in central Paris as well as the Skate Park Bercy 2 on the outskirts of the city.
Other productions on Polyester and Morgane’s joint slate include a documentary on avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas, Jonas Mekas, I’m not a filmmaker.