Temporal range: Cenomanian–Recent
Scientific classification
Jeannel, 1919
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Download Free PDF. Download Free PDF. Free-roaming Kissing Bugs, Vectors of Chagas Disease, Feed Often on Humans in the Southwest. The American Journal of Medicine, 2014.

The members of the Triatominae/tr.əˈtɒmɪn/, a subfamily of the Reduviidae, are also known as conenose bugs, kissing bugs (so-called from their habit of feeding from around the mouths of people),[1] or vampire bugs. Other local names for them used in Latin America include barbeiros, vinchucas, pitos, chipos and chinches. Most of the 130 or more species of this subfamily feed on vertebrate blood; a very few species feed on invertebrates.[2][3] They are mainly found and widespread in the Americas, with a few species present in Asia, Africa, and Australia. These bugs usually share shelter with nesting vertebrates, from which they suck blood. In areas where Chagas disease occurs (from the southern United States to northern Argentina), all triatomine species are potential vectors of the Chagas disease parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, but only those species (such as Triatoma infestans and Rhodnius prolixus) that are well adapted to living with humans are considered important vectors. Also, proteins released from their bites have been known to induce anaphylaxis in sensitive and sensitized individuals.[4][5]

  • Feel free to download and print our pamphlets on kissing bugs and canine chagas disease. Funded under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012345 with the University of North Texas Health Science Center - Gibson D. Lewis Library, and awarded by the DHHS, NIH, National Library of Medicine.
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At the beginning of the 19th century, Charles Darwin made one of the first reports of the existence of triatomines in America in his Journal and Remarks, published in 1839 and commonly known as The Voyage of the Beagle. The following is an extract which he based on his journal entry dated 26 March 1835:[6]:315

We crossed the Luxan, which is a river of considerable size, though its course towards the sea-coast is very imperfectly known. It is even doubtful whether, in passing over the plains, it is evaporated, or whether it forms a tributary of the Sauce or Colorado. We slept in the village, which is a small place surrounded by gardens, and forms the most southern part, that is cultivated, of the province of Mendoza; it is five leagues south of the capital. At night I experienced an attack (for it deserves no less a name) of the Benchuca (a species of Reduvius) the great black bug of the Pampas. It is most disgusting to feel soft wingless insects, about an inch long, crawling over one's body. Before sucking they are quite thin, but afterwards they become round and bloated with blood, and in this state are easily crushed. They are also found in the northern parts of Chile and in Peru. One which I caught at Iquique, was very empty. When placed on the table, and though surrounded by people, if a finger was presented, the bold insect would immediately draw its sucker, make a charge, and if allowed, draw blood. No pain was caused by the wound. It was curious to watch its body during the act of sucking, as it changed in less than ten minutes, from being as flat as a wafer to a globular form. This one feast, for which the benchuca was indebted to one of the officers, kept it fat during four whole months; but, after the first fortnight, the insect was quite ready to have another suck.[6]:315
Note: Luxan is a reference to the town/district of Luján de Cuyo, though there is no longer a river named after the town in its vicinity (the only Luján River in present-day Argentina empties into the Río de la Plata and is basically a minor branch of the Rio Paraná); the Benchuca is identified by Richard Keynes as Triatoma infestans which is commonly called the 'Vinchuca' bug.[6]

Considerable medical speculation has occurred as to whether or not Darwin's contact with triatomines in Argentina was related to his later bouts of long-term illness, though it is unlikely to have been caused on this specific occasion, as he made no mention of the fever that usually follows the first infection.[6]

Discovery of triatominae's relation with Chagas disease[edit]

In 1909, Brazilian doctor Carlos Chagas discovered that these insects were responsible for the transmission of T. cruzi to many of his patients in Lassance, a village located on the banks of the São Francisco River in Minas Gerais (Brazil). Poor people living there complained of some insects they called barbeiros that bite during the night. Carlos Chagas put his first observations in words:

Knowing the domiciliary habits of the insect, and its abundance in all the human habitations of the region, we immediately stayed on, interested in finding out the exact biology of the barbeiro, and the transmission of some parasite to man or to another vertebrate.

Another Brazilian, Herman Lent, former student of Carlos Chagas, became devoted to the research of the triatomines and together with Peter Wygodzinsky made a revision of the Triatominae, a summary of 40 years of studies on the triatomines up to 1989.[7]

Biological aspects[edit]

Rhodnius prolixus nymphs and adult


Triatomines undergo incomplete metamorphosis. A wingless first-instar nymph hatches from an egg, and may be small as 2 mm. It passes successively through second, third, fourth, and fifth instars. Finally, the fifth instar turns into an adult, acquiring two pairs of wings.[8]


All triatomine nymph instars and adults are haematophagous and require the stability of a sheltered environment, where they aggregate. Most species are associated with wild, nesting vertebrates and are named 'sylvatic' triatomines. These live in ground burrows with rodents or armadillos,[9] or in tree dwellings with bats, birds, sloths, or opossums. Few species (5%) live in human dwellings or in the surroundings of human houses (peridomicile) in the shelters of domestic animals, these are named 'domestic' species. Many sylvatic species are in process of domiciliation (i.e. 'semidomestic').


Most triatomines aggregate in refuges during day and search for blood during night, when the host is asleep and the air is cooler. Odors and heat guide these insects to their hosts. Carbon dioxide emanating from breath, as well as ammonia, short-chain amines, and carboxylic acids from skin, hair, and exocrine glands from vertebrate animals, are among the volatiles that attract triatomines. Vision also serves triatomines for orientation. At night, adults of diverse species fly to houses attracted by light.

Adults produce a pungent odor (isobutyric acid) when disturbed, and are also capable of producing a particular sound by rubbing the rostrum over a stridulatory sulcus under its head (stridulation).


Domestic and sylvatic species can carry the Chagas parasite to humans and wild mammals; birds are immune to the parasite. T. cruzi transmission is carried mainly from human to human by domestic kissing bugs; from the vertebrate to the bug by blood, and from the bug to the vertebrate by the insect's feces, and not by its saliva as occurs in most bloodsucking arthropod vectors such as malaria mosquitoes.

Triatomine infestation especially affects older dwellings. One can recognize the presence of triatomines in a house by its feces, exuviae, eggs, and adults. Triatomines characteristically leave two kinds of feces like strikes on walls of infected houses; one is white with uric acid, and the other is dark (black) containing heme. Whitish or pinkish eggs can be seen in wall crevices. After having had a blood meal, the insects sometimes show a limited mobility and can be identified easily.

Controlling triatomine infestations[edit]

Insecticide treatment[edit]

Synthetic pyrethroids are the main class of insecticides used to control triatominae infestations. Insecticide treatment is more effective on nonporous surfaces, such as hardwood timber, fired bricks, and plastered walls, than on porous surfaces such as mud. A single treatment with insecticide typically protects against triatomine infestation for a year or more on timber walls vs. 2–3 months on adobe walls. Wettable powders, suspension concentrates, and insecticide paints can improve treatment effectiveness on porous surfaces.

Rates of insecticide resistance among triatomines are fairly low due to their long lifecycle and low genetic variability, but some instances of resistance have been reported, particularly amongTriatoma infestans populations in Bolivia and Argentina.[10]

Tribes, genera, and numbers of described species[edit]

The monophyletic nature of the Triatominae subfamily is strongly supported by molecular data, indicating that their blood-sucking character has occurred only once within the Reduviidae.[11]The classification within the subfamily is not stable, with different proposed relationships among the tribes and genera. The classification below largely follows Galvão et al. 2003,[12] but in 2009 this same author eliminated the tribe Linshcosteini and also eliminated the genera Meccus, Mepraia, and Nesotriatoma[13]

  • PaleotriatomaBurmese amber, Myanmar, Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian)
  • Alberproseniini
    • Alberprosenia 2
  • Bolboderini
    • Belminus 9
    • Bolbodera 1
    • Microtriatoma 2
    • Parabelminus 2
  • Cavernicolini
    • Cavernicola 2
  • Linshcosteini
    • Linshcosteus 6
  • Rhodniini
    • Psammolestes 3
    • Rhodnius 16
  • Triatomini
    • Dipetalogaster 1
    • Eratyrus 2
    • Hermanlentia 1
    • Meccus 6
    • Mepraia 2
    • Nesotriatoma 3
    • Panstrongylus 13
    • Paratriatoma 1
    • Triatoma 67

Most important vectors[edit]

All 138 Triatominae species are potentially able to transmit T. cruzi to humans, but these five species are the most epidemiologically important vectors of Chagas disease.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The dictionary definition of kissing bug at Wiktionary
  2. ^Sandoval, C.M.; Joya, M.I.; Gutiérrez, R.; Angulo, V.M. (2000). 'Cleptohaematophagy of the Triatominae bug Belminus herreri'. Medical and Veterinary Entomology. 14 (1): 100–1. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2915.2000.00210.x. PMID10759319.
  3. ^Sandoval, C.M.; Duarte, R.; Gutiérrez, R.; Rocha, D.S.; Angulo, V.M.; Esteban, L.; Reyes, M.; Jurberg, J.; Galvão, C. (2004). 'Feeding sources and natural infection of Belminus herreri (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae) from dwellings in Cesar, Colombia'. Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. 99 (2): 137–140. doi:10.1590/S0074-02762004000200004. PMID15250465.
  4. ^The EAACI Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Guidelines Group (August 2014). 'Anaphylaxis: guidelines from the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology'. Allergy. 69 (8): 1026–45. doi:10.1111/all.12437. PMID24909803.
  5. ^Klotz, JH; Dorn, PL; Logan, JL; Stevens, L; Pinnas, JL; Schmidt, JO; Klotz, SA (Jun 15, 2010). ''Kissing bugs': potential disease vectors and cause of anaphylaxis'. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 50 (12): 1629–34. doi:10.1086/652769. PMID20462351.
  6. ^ abcdKeynes, Richard Darwin (1988). Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary. Cambridge, UK: The press syndicate of the University of Cambridge. ISBN0-521-23503-0. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  7. ^Lent, Herman; Wygodzinsky, Pedro W. (1979). 'Revision of the Triatominae (Hemiptera, Reduviidae), and their significance as vectors of Chagas' disease'. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 163. hdl:2246/1282.
  8. ^'Global Health – Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria'. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  9. ^Rozendaal, Jan A. (1997). Vector control: Methods for use by individuals and communities. World Health Organization. p. 215. ISBN92-4-154-494-5. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  10. ^Pessoa, Grasielle Caldas Dávila; Vinãs, Pedro Albajar; Rosa, Aline Cristine Luiz; Diotaiuti, Liléia (2015). 'History of insecticide resistance of Triatominae vectors'. Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical. 48 (4): 380–389. doi:10.1590/0037-8682-0081-2015. PMID26312926.
  11. ^Weirauch, Christiane & Munro, James B. (2009). 'Molecular phylogeny of the assassin bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae), based on mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal genes'. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 53 (1): 287–299. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.05.039. PMID19531379. Archived from the original on 2018-08-26.Alt URL
  12. ^Galvão, Cleber; Carcavallo, Rodolfo; Rocha, Dayse DA Silva; Jurberg, José (2003). 'A checklist of the current valid species of the subfamily Triatominae Jeannel, 1919 (Hemiptera, Reduviidae) and their geographical distribution, with nomenclatural and taxonomic notes'. Zootaxa. 202: 1. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.202.1.1.
  13. ^Schofield CJ, Galvão C. (2009) Classification, evolution, and species groups within the Triatominae. Acta Trop. 110: 88-100.

Further reading[edit]

  • Brenner RR, Stoka AM (1987) Chagas’ disease vectors. I, II and III. CRC Press. Boca Ratón
  • Dujardin JP, Schofield CJ, Panzera F (2000) 'Les vecteurs de la maladie de Chagas: recherches taxonomiques, biologiques et génétiques'. Academie Royale des Sciences d'Ultre-Mer. Belgium.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Triatominae.
  • Boodman, Eric (August 10, 2016). 'In the dark of night, a hunt for a deadly bug in the name of science'. STAT. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
Retrieved from ''
Directed byHarmony Korine
Written byHarmony Korine
Produced by
  • Scott Macaulay
  • Robin O'Hara
  • Nifty da Saurus
  • Jacob Sewell
  • Nick Sutton
Narrated by
CinematographyJean-Yves Escoffier
Edited byChristopher Tellefsen
Distributed byFine Line Features
Release date
  • August 29, 1997 (Telluride)
  • October 17, 1997 (United States)
89 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.3 million
Box office$116,799[2]

Gummo is a 1997 American experimentaldrama film[3] written and directed by Harmony Korine, starring Jacob Reynolds, Nick Sutton, Jacob Sewell, and Chloë Sevigny. The film is set but was not filmed in Xenia, Ohio, a Midwestern American town that had been previously struck by a devastating tornado. The loose narrative follows several main characters who find odd and destructive ways to pass time, interrupted by vignettes depicting other inhabitants of the town.

Korine's directorial debut, the film was shot in Nashville, Tennessee, on a budget of $1 million. Gummo was not given a large theatrical release and failed to generate large box office revenues. The film generated substantial press for its graphic content and stylized, loosely woven narrative. It is often regarded as one of the most well-known cult films.


A young boy named Solomon narrates the events of the tornado that devastated the small town of Xenia, Ohio. A muteadolescent boy, known as Bunny Boy, wears only pink bunny ears, shorts, and tennis shoes on an overpass in the rain.

Tummler, a friend of Solomon, carries a cat by the scruff of its neck and drowns it in a barrel of water. The film then cuts to a different scene with Tummler, in a wrecked car with a girl. They fondle each other, and Tummler realizes there is a lump in one of the girl's breasts. Tummler and Solomon then ride down a hill on bikes. In narration, Solomon describes Tummler as a boy with 'a marvelous persona,” whom some people call 'downright evil.”

Later, Tummler aims an air rifle at a cat. Solomon stops him from killing the cat, protesting that it is a housecat. They leave and the camera follows the cat to its owners' house. The cat is owned by three sisters, two of whom are teenagers and one who is pre-pubescent. The film cuts back to Tummler and Solomon hunting feral cats, which they deliver to a local grocer who intends to butcher and sell them to a local restaurant. The grocer tells them that they have a rival in the cat killing business. Tummler and Solomon buy glue from the grocer, which they use to get high via huffing.

The film then cuts to a scene in which two foul-mouthed young boys dressed as cowboys destroy things in a junkyard. Bunny Boy arrives and the other boys shoot him 'dead' with cap guns. Bunny Boy plays dead and the boys curse at him, rifle through his pockets, then remove and throw one of his shoes. They grow bored of this and leave Bunny Boy sprawled on the ground.

Tummler and Solomon track down a local boy who is poaching 'their' cats. The poacher, named Jarrod Wiggley, is poisoning the cats rather than shooting them. When Tummler and Solomon break into Jarrod's house with masks and weapons with intent to hurt him, they find photos of the young teen in drag and his elderly grandmother, who is catatonic and attached to life support machinery. Jarrod is forced to care for her, which he had earlier opined was 'disgusting.” Seeing that Jarrod isn't home, Tummler and Solomon decide to leave. Tummler then discovers the grandmother lying in her bed, states that it is 'no way to live,' and turns off the life support machine.

A number of other scenes are interspersed throughout the film, including: an intoxicated man flirting with a gaydwarf; a man pimping his disabled sister to Solomon and Tummler; the sisters encountering an elderly child molester; a pair of twin boys selling candy door-to-door; a brief conversation with a tennis player who is treating his ADHD; a long scene of Solomon eating dinner while taking a bath in dirty water; a drunken party with arm- and chair-wrestling; and two skinhead brothers boxing each other in their kitchen. There are also a number of even smaller scenes depicting Satanic rituals, footage seemingly from home movies, and conversations containing racial bigotry.

The next scene in the movie is set to the song 'Crying' by Roy Orbison, which had been previously mentioned by Tummler as the song his older sibling, who was a transsexual, would sing (the sibling eventually went to the 'Big City' and abandoned him). The final scene involves Solomon and Tummler shooting the sisters' cat repeatedly with their air rifles in the rain with jump cuts to Bunny Boy kissing the teenage girls in a swimming pool. Bunny Boy runs towards the camera through a field holding the body of the dead cat, which he shows to the audience, breaking the fourth wall.

The final scene shows a girl, who shaved her eyebrows earlier in the movie, singing 'Jesus Loves Me' in bed next to her mom (or sister). The film finally cuts to black as the girl singing is told to 'dial it down' and go to bed.


  • Jacob Reynolds as Solomon
  • Nick Sutton as Tummler
  • Linda Manz as Solomon's mother
  • Chloë Sevigny as Dot
  • Carisa Glucksman as Helen
  • Darby Dougherty as Darby
  • Jacob Sewell as Bunny Boy
  • Mark Gonzales as Chair wrestler
  • Max Perlich as Cole
  • Daniel Martin as Jarrod Wiggley
  • Harmony Korine as Boy on couch



In writing Gummo, Harmony Korine abandoned traditional three-act plot structure and worked to avoid creating characters of a clear-cut moral dimension. In favor of a collage-like assembly, Korine focused on forming interesting moments and scenes, that when put in succession would become its own unique narrative. To justify such a chaotic assembly, Korine set his film in Xenia, Ohio which had been hit by a tornado in 1974.[4]

To help him achieve his vision, Korine sought out French cinematographer Jean-Yves Escoffier. His work on Leos Carax's Les Amants du Pont-Neuf made a tremendous impression on Korine. Escoffier, who liked the script, worked on Gummo for a fraction of his usual rate.[4]

During the months of pre-production, Korine scouted for locations in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, filming unusual and distinctive homes to shoot in. Korine often approached people on the street, in bowling alleys and in fast food restaurants and asked them to play a part in his movie. Korine notes, 'This is where I grew up. These people are interesting to me, and I'd never seen them represented on screen in a true way.'[4]


Chloë Sevigny designed the costumes for the film, mixing pieces that people already owned with items bought at local thrift stores.[4]


Korine cast the film almost entirely with local non-actors. Old friends were eager to help Korine, such as the two skinhead brothers, skateboarder Mark Gonzales, and dwarf Bryant Krenshaw. Some exceptions include Korine's then-girlfriend Chloë Sevigny, Linda Manz, and Max Perlich.


On Linda Manz, Korine stated, 'I had always admired her. There was this sense about her that I liked – it wasn't even acting. It was like the way I felt about Buster Keaton when I first saw him. There was a kind of poetry about her, a glow. They both burnt off the screen.'[5]Gummo was her first screen appearance in 16 years.

Korine spotted his two main characters while watching cable television. Korine noticed Jacob Reynolds in a short role in The Road to Wellville. 'He was so visual... I never get tired of looking at his face.'[4] The character of Solomon, played by Reynolds, is described in Korine's script as looking 'like no other kid in the world.'[6]

Nick Sutton (Tummler) was spotted on a drug prevention episode of The Sally Jesse Raphael Show called 'My Child Died From Sniffing Paint'. In the show they ask Sutton where he thinks he will be in a few years, to which he responds, 'I'll probably be dead.'[7] Recalls Korine, 'I saw his face and I thought that was the boy I dreamed of, that was my Tummler. There was a beauty about him.' Producer Scott Macaulay on Sutton stated, 'He's this person that Harmony sort of found and put in the middle of this movie, which is at times realistic and at times magical. I think of Nick as being Harmony's equivalent of Herzog'sBruno S.'[4] (See The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser and Stroszek).

Korine cast his actors not by how they read lines, but by the visual aura they put off.[8]


The film was shot in some of Nashville's poorest neighborhoods. Producer Cary Woods comments, 'we're essentially seeing the kind of poverty that we're used to seeing in Third World countries when news crews are covering famines, [but] seeing that in the heart of America.' One small home housed fifteen people and several thousand cockroaches. Bugs literally crawled up and down the walls.[4] Korine comments, 'we had to take out stuff to be able to put the camera in the room.'[9] At times, the crew rebelled against filming in such conditions and Korine was forced to purchase hazmat suits for them to wear. Korine and Escoffier, who thought this was offensive, 'wore Speedos and flip-flops just to piss them off.'[7]

Korine encouraged improvisation and spontaneity. To achieve this, Korine had to establish a mode of trust. 'If an actor is a crack smoker, let him go out between takes, smoke crack, and then come back and throw his refrigerator out the window! Let people feel they can do whatever they want with no consequence.'[9] Producer Scott Macaulay commented the improvisational methods yielded deep results for everyone involved. 'For a lot of the non-actors, you sensed that it was a very emotional experience for them, and that they were tapping into something important.'[4] Korine adds, 'I wanted to show what it was like to sniff glue. I didn't want to judge anybody. This is why I have very little interest in working with actors. [Non-actors] can give you what an actor can never give you: pieces of themselves.'[9]

Korine wanted each scene to be shot with different visual looks and styles. While many scenes are shot in traditional pre-planned 35mm, Korine handed out 8mm, 16mm, Polaroid, VHS, and Hi-8 cameras to his crew, friends and family to achieve an enhanced collage-like style. 'I wanted everything to feel that it was done for a reason. Like they shot it on video because they couldn't get it onto 35mm or they shot it on Polaroids because that was the only camera that was there... I felt like shooting each scene on its own terms and then making sense of it afterwards. And I felt that the styles would blend, that there would be a cohesiveness.'[9]

On the last day of shooting, Escoffier shot the chair-wrestling kitchen scene alone with a rigged boom on his camera. Some people had just gotten out of prison and Korine felt the performance would be greater if he wasn't in the room. The crew shut all the doors and turned off all the monitors, so no one knew what was going on. In between takes, Korine would run in and get everyone hyped up. At the end of the scene there is a moment of silence where no one knows what to do next. Korine comments, 'When I saw that in the dailies, it amazed me, because Jean Yves really captured that awkwardness, that sad silence; it was beautiful.'[7]

Korine shot Gummo in just four weeks during the summer of 1996, most of the film being shot on the final day of production. This was due to the crew waiting for rain. The last scene shot is the one with Korine starring as a heavily intoxicated and homosexual boy on a couch with a little person.

Any scenes appearing to show violence against animals were simulated, sometimes using prosthetic animals.[10]


Korine worked with editor Chris Tellefsen to synthesize the pre-planned footage with the 'mistakist' footage:

'We go from scenes that are completely thought out, almost formal, scenes that resonate in this classical film sense, and then we go to other scenes where it's like, total mistakes, stuff shot on video where the kids forget there's a camera there and talk about how much they hate niggers.'[11]

Korine said that he used footage from any source he could find that fit the aesthetic: 'That cat tape was a tape that a friend of mine had given me, of him doing acid with his sister. They were in a garage band and there was a shot of their kitten. That [phasing] was an in-camera mistake.'[9]

The final film is about 75% scripted.[9]


Gummo's soundtrack paints a wide canvas of American pop-culture, ranging from Madonna's 'Like a Prayer', from Almeda Riddle's field recording of the traditional children's song 'My Little Rooster', to the stoner metal of the California band Sleep. Other popular songs include Buddy Holly's 'Everyday' and Roy Orbison's 'Crying', which closes the film and is directly referenced in the dialogue.

Metal and powerviolence bands such as Bethlehem, Mystifier, Absu, Burzum, Bathory, Brujeria, Eyehategod and Spazz are also featured.[12] Korine later showed interest in black metal subculture in his 2000 visual series The Sigil of the Cloven Hoof Marks Thy Path.


The film explores a broad range of issues including drug abuse, violence, homicide, vandalism, mental illness, poverty, profanity, homophobia, sexual abuse, sexism, suicide, grief, prostitution, and animal cruelty. Korine avoided any romantic notions regarding America, including its poor and mentally disabled.[8][13]

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Korine comments on the film's pop-aesthetic, saying: 'America is all about this recycling, this interpretation of pop. I want you to see these kids wearing Bone Thugs & Harmony t-shirts and Metallica hats – this almost schizophrenic identification with popular imagery. If you think about, that's how people relate to each other these days, through these images.'[9] Dot and Helen are modeled after Cherie Currie. 'I wanted them to seem like homeschool kids... sort of guessing and coming up with these hipster things. They almost make a homeschool hip language. I wanted this inbred vernacular.'[9]

The film has a strong vaudevillian influence. The name of the character Tummler is taken directly from the vaudevillian term given to lower-level comics of the day. 'The guys that would check you into a hotel room, take your coat, and at the same time throw a few one-liners out. They're like the warm-up, the lowest level comedian. The tummler.'[5] (See Borscht Belt)

Robin O'Hara argues that while people naturally look for points of reference to describe Gummo (such as Herzog, Cassavetes, Arbus, Fellini, Godard, Maysles and Jarman) that Korine's art really is his own. 'He is an original, in every sense of the word.'[4] Korine comments on the film's aesthetic: 'We tried very hard not to reference other films. We wanted Gummo to set its own standard.'[4]

The Kissing Bug Pdf Free Download Adobe Reader


Gummo premiered at the 24th Telluride Film Festival on August 29, 1997. During the screening, numerous people got up and left during the initial cat drowning sequence.[citation needed] Several festival appearances followed including International Film Festival Rotterdam where it won the KNF Award for 'best feature film in the official section that does not yet have distribution within the Netherlands,' and Venice Film Festival where it received a special mention from the FIPRESCI jury.[14][15] It was picked up for distribution by Fine Line Features, and saw a limited release with an R rating (edited from the original NC-17 version) in the United States on October 17, 1997[16] for pervasive depiction of anti-social behavior of juveniles, including violence, substance abuse, sexuality and language.

Critical reception[edit]

Werner Herzog praised the film and talked about being impressed by the bacon taped to the wall during the bathtub scene.[7][17]

Director Lukas Moodysson listed it as one of his top ten films for the 2002 Sight and Sound Poll and Australian director Megan Spencer also praised the film.[18]David Stratton of SBS's The Movie Show stated in his review that 'cat lovers should be warned', but ultimately praised the film, calling it 'original'.[19]

Filmmaker Gus Van Sant on Gummo writes, 'Venomous in story; genius in character; victorious in structure; teasingly gentle in epilogue; slapstick in theme; rebellious in nature; honest at heart; inspirational in its creation and with contempt at the tip of its tongue, [Gummo] is a portrait of small-town Middle American life that is both bracingly realistic and hauntingly dreamlike.'[4]

As of 2021, Gummo holds a 38% 'rotten' rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 56 reviews, with an average rating of 5.9/10. The site's critical consensus states 'Gummo's bold provocations may impress more iconoclastically inclined viewers, but others will find it hard to see past writer-director Harmony Korine's overwhelmingly sour storytelling perspective.'[20] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized score, the movie holds a 19/100 rating based on 15 reviews, which indicates 'overwhelming dislike.' A short excerpt from Gummo was shown after the opening sequence in the 1998 Hype Williams film Belly.

Film websites Mubi and They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? have listed Gummo among their 1000 greatest films of all time.[21]

The Diary of Anne Frank II[edit]

Screenshot from the collage

The Diary of Anne Frank Pt II is a 40-minute three-screen collage featuring the same actors and themes as Gummo, and can be considered a companion piece.[22]

Korine comments, 'I could probably make another two movies with the excess footage [from Gummo]. Some of this material I'm going to use in this art work... the problem you run into doing multimedia projection is that a lot of the time, the style takes over. It threatens and reduces the content. It becomes almost like a music video – mixing all these forms for no reason.'[9]

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  1. ^'Gummo (18)'. British Board of Film Classification. October 16, 1997. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  2. ^Gummo at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^'Gummo (1997)'. AllMovie. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  4. ^ abcdefghijkVan Sant, Gus. 1997 'Gummo Website Forward.' Retrieved 2009-11-02.
  5. ^ abWalczak, Dantek. 1997. 'Harmony Korine Interview.' Index Magazine. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
  6. ^Korine, Harmony (2002). Harmony Korine: Collected Screenplays, Volume 1. Faber and Faber. ISBN0-571-21002-3.
  7. ^ abcdHerzog, Werner. Nov, 1997. 'Gummo's Whammo'. Interview. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
  8. ^ abCunha, Tom. 1997-10-06. 'A Conversation with Harmony Korine'. IndieWire. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
  9. ^ abcdefghiKelly, Mike. Fall 1997. 'Mike Kelly Interviews Harmony Korine'. FilmMaker. Retrieved 2009-11-06.
  10. ^Film, closing credits.
  11. ^'From the Archives: Mike Kelley Interviews Harmony Korine'. Filmmaker. February 13, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  12. ^'Gummo – Original Soundtrack'. Allmusic. Retrieved February 18, 2008.
  13. ^Deussing, Ryan. Oct 1997. 'Harmony Korine's America'. Link. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
  14. ^KNF Award. International Film Festival Rotterdam. Retrieved on 2009-11-13.
  15. ^Rooney, David (1997-09-08). 'Hana-bi' gets gold at Venice.' Variety. Retrieved on 2009-11-13.
  16. ^Gummo. Variety Profiles. Retrieved on 2009-11-13.
  17. ^'Gummo (1997) - Trivia'. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  18. ^'BFI – Sight & Sound – Top Ten Poll 2002 – How the directors and critics voted'. Archived from the original on August 18, 2002. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
  19. ^'Gummo'. SBS (Australia). August 25, 1998. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  20. ^'Rotten Tomatoes.' Retrieved 2019-04-24.
  21. ^'The 1,000 Greatest Films (Full List)'. They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?.
  22. ^Oct 2000. 'The Diary of Anne Frank Pt II.' Frieze. Retrieved 2009-11-01.

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