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DOWNTOWN 81

USA, 2000 (MIFF 2000, Mooks Backbeat – Music on Film)

Director: Edo Bertoglio

'Jam-packed with rivetting performances by some of the hottest underground Gotham bands of the early 80s. Downtown 81 is an extraordinary real-life snapshot of hip, arty, clubland Manhattan in the post-punk era... the film, shot nearly 20 years ago, brings viewers right inside the pulsing heart of late night Lower East Side New York in the No Wave period. Painter-graffiti-artist-musician Jean Michel Basquiat was 19 at the time, caught just months before he was transformed into a major figure in the world of modern art."—Variety

The film is based on Basquiat's reputation and interest in the music sub-culture of the time. The project floundered due to financial difficulties after it was originally shot. Last year producer Maripol Fauque discovered lost footage and Downtown 81 saw the light of day once more. The simple story is based on Basquiat trying to get artwork sold and hook up with a mystery woman who enchanted him after a hospital stay. The temperature is raised by Basquiat's natural charisma and screen presence along with lashings of steamy live performances from discordant guitar heroes DNA and post-mod funksters James White and the Blacks.

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