Chris Fuller’s Loren Cass invites comparisons to Harmony Korine’s work not simply because it’s a ragged avant-garde snapshot of wayward teens living despairing lives in a ramshackle environment, but because Gummo’s spaghetti-bath-water “protagonist” Jacob Reynolds is actually part of the cast. The difference between the two works, however, is that Fuller’s portrait of three St. Petersburg, Florida kids – set in the aftermath of 1996’s race riots – isn’t after carnival show freakiness and provocation as much as deeply ingrained misery and desolation, a mood evoked through detached 16mm compositions set to an eclectic soundscape of punk rock and African-American activist speeches. One wishes a greater political angle arose from these juxtapositions, as well as from the frequent sights of disaffected garage mechanic Cale (Fuller, acting under a pseudonym) and tattooed friend Jason (Travis Maynard) picking drunken fights with a group of African-American kids, or of slutty diner waitress Nicole (Kayla Tabish) screwing a multicultural variety of anonymous boys. Nonetheless, if commentary is generally sidestepped, an oppressive sense of brutality, loneliness and ennui remains visceral. The cumulative effect of Fuller’s look-at-me style is ultimately too pretentious and self-conscious for its own good. But even so, Loren Cass occasionally suggests, in its story’s mixture of furious fisticuffs, indifferent sex, and halfhearted suicide attempts, a desperate desire on the part of its characters to find emotional sustenance through physicality.