Original documentation
'Kids': The Oral History of the Most Controversial Film of the Nineties - 20 Years Later
Editor's Comments

Official Trailer


The Movie

Park Life

Larry Clark's controversial film about New York City adolescents walking the AIDS tightrope is also an unblinking look at the dehumanizing rituals of growing up. But it really doesn't add up to more than the sum of its various shocks--virgin busting, skinny-dipping, male callousness--overlayed with middle-class disapproval. Clark is hectoring us for cutting kids loose at a terrible time in modern American history, but so are a lot of other people, who also offer alternatives and ideas. The film does nothing to push us toward new thoughts, new solutions, new dreams. It is more like a window onto our worst fantasies about what our children are doing out there on the streets. --Tom Keogh

Powerful and passionate, colorful and compelling, Larry Clark's KIDS is 24 frenetic hours in the life of a group of contemporary teenagers who, like all teenagers, believe they are invincible. With breathtaking images from one of the world's most renowned photographers, KIDS is a deeply affecting, no-holds-barred landscape of words and images, depicting with raw honesty the experiences, attitudes and uncertainties of innocence lost. KIDS gets under the skin and lingers, long after it is viewed. The kids at the core of the story are just that: teenagers living the urban melee of modern-day America. But while these kids dwell in the big city, their story could, quite possibly, happen anywhere.

1995 KIDS Rated R

Editor's Comments

The was a GREAT movie because it (1) woke parents up to what their kids were into and (2) it woke kids up, who were allowed to see the movie, to the dangers of unprotected sex when schools couldn't promote safer-sex. I saw it in Marin County, California where the proprietor of the Mill Valley Cinema open the doors for anyone to see it. At the time, every kid in American should have been able to see it. There was a huge influx of kids going to the San Rafael Free Health Clinic to get tested for AIDS, many under 13 when, I believe California law required anyone under 13 to have their parents permission to get tested. I guess the purpose of the law was to keep uninformed parents of what their children are actually doing. To me it had the reverse effect. What 10, 11, 12 year old wants to go to their parents to tell them they had sex. So many went under ground and didn't get tested but remained in fear that they might die. A sick law that doesn''t protect children and sets up some forced adult control over their children's lives that doesn't work. The movie, in the end, brought out the hypocrisy of parental control. The same thing happened with the "Bully" movie. It was originally assigned an "R" rating in the U.S. It finally got knocked down to a PG-13 because it had too many swear words in it (all coming from kids in bully situations.) Canada, on the other hand, saw the importance of the movie, knew that swear words are part of a mjiddle-schoolers experience, decided not to be the Morality Police, and gave the movie a G rating. I know because I have a copy. Again, parents who are failures at parenting trying to impose laws on their children that only make their kids go further underground and separate from trusting their parents. There's too much "aggressive parenting" sanctioned by our society, control from faith-based morality, that's simply wrong. Lower the rating. Let kids experience the movie, and then review it from their perspective, not yours.

Most parents have no idea if their kids have ever done drugs like ecstacy or roofies,or Jager-bombs or other alcohol, inhalants, watched pornogaphy, done sexting, self-injury, been bullied or depressed. I bet if you asked your kid if they know what a Jager-bomb is, they can tell you if they trust you. - Gordon Clay


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