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NO PICNIC

USA, 1986 (MIFF 1987)

Director: Philip Hartman

Philip Hartman, co-founder of the Great Jones Cafe, wrote and directed this story of turmoil and chaos in the life of Macabee Cohen, former rock musician, now supplier of records for jukeboxes. Like any self-respecting former underground musician and central character in an experimental 16mm debut feature, Mac lives in Manhattan's Lower East Side, his life is a mess and so is his neighbourhood. Hartman shows us an inner city area plagued by rent strikes and real estate development, populated by a succession of colourful characters that Mac encounters as he tries to get his life in order. His girlfriend has joined the US Air Force, his father has left his mother for a younger man, his neighbour, an illegal alien, wants Mac to marry her so that she can get her green card, and Mac's just trying to get on with his life.

The soundtrack features musicians like Ned Sublette, The Raunch Hands, Raw Youth and Richard Hell. Most of the film was shot without sound, and a voiceover narration propels the story along. Variety noted that Hartman owed a debt to the work of Jim Jarmusch.

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