Fight Harm (lost footage of unfinished dark comedy film; 1999)
Fight Harm is an unfinished dark comedy film by director Harmony Korine. Described as "the future of comedy" by Korine, in Fight Harm Harmony Korine goes around the streets of Manhattan, New York provoking people into fighting him. He did set a few rules such as the people he fought had to be bigger than him, he could not throw the first punch, and the camera crew could not break up the fight until he was knocked out. After sustaining multiple injuries, getting arrested, and not having enough footage to make a full movie, the project was shelved. Harmony Korine has gone on to show a select few people the footage, but the entire seventeen minutes of footage has yet to surface.
In Fight Harm, Harmony Korine would wander the streets of Manhattan in New York City to provoke people into fighting him. After Korine sought someone out who was bigger than him, he then would proceed to verbally insult the person and provoke them into a fight, though Korine could not throw the first punch. During the fights, the camera crew could not interfere until after Harmony Korine was knocked out. The camera crew would then proceed to ask the person who just beat up Korine if they would sign a release form in order to be in the movie.
Production began on Fight Harm sometime in 1999 in New York City. Before every fight, Harmony Korine would get a little drunk. Nine fights were filmed which only surmounted to seventeen minutes worth of footage. Production ended up taking a massive toll on Harmony Korine and the people involved. In one interview he recounts the reaction a bouncer had after finding out the fight was for a film:
[He] got so sad when he found out… He was like, ‘Oh my God, if I knew this, I never would have touched the guy!’ And so he signs the release form. And the girl beside him is totally in tears, the stripper. She’s like, ‘Don’t sign it! He’s not a director – he needs to be locked up in a mental institute!’
Though no official reason has been given, it is likely that Korine was not pleased with the lack of footage and could not sustain any more injuries. Production for Fight Harm was shelved around September of 1999.
Despite the cult following, Harmony Korine refuses to release the footage of Fight Harm due to many issues. Korine insists that the film will be funnier as it gets older. One of the factors preventing the footage from being released are possible legal ramifications because some people involved with Fight Harm did not sign the release forms.
In 2010, Harmony Korine gave an update as to whether or not he would release the footage:
I go back and forth. My wife is really adamant about me not showing it at this point. She thinks I need to wait another ten [years] for it to be really funny. The only purpose of these fights was to make the world’s greatest slapstick comedy, something that Buster Keaton or The Three Stooges would have been jealous of.
Though at the 2018 Key West Film Festival, Korine did show a clip to an audience in the first row. The clip was on his phone. This was the first time anyone outside of the production crew saw it. Despite all of the fanfare, it is unlikely that Fight Harm will be released anytime soon. All seventeen minutes of the film are in storage with one screenshot surfacing.
- Interview with Harmony Korine where he talks about the basic premise of rules of the Fight Harm. Retrieved 10 Jan '19
- Interview where Harmony Korine talks about the fight with the bouncer. Retrieved 10 Jan '19
- Article that talks about Harmony Korine showing a clip from Fight Harm on his phone. Retrieved 10 Jan '19