Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director

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.

See also...

BETTER LIVING THROUGH CIRCUITRY

USA, 1999
Moby, Carl Cox, Roni Size, Frankie Bones, Kraftwerk, Jason Bentley, Meat Beat Manifesto and The Crystal Method—just a handful of the electronica and dance luminaries profiled and interviewed in… More »

LOUIS PRIMA: THE WILDEST!

USA, 1999
"The movie is a beautiful thing. No documentary about any musician will make you so glad to be alive."—San Francisco Examiner ... Don McGlynn is a MIFF regular who just about qualifies for his … More »

BORN TO LOSE: THE LAST ROCK AND ROLL MOVIE

USA, 1999
For Johnny Thunders, the party was never over. His lifestyle epitomised rock decadence in all its gutter glory. As a member of cross-dressing proto-punks the New York Dolls, Thunders left a liquored-… More »

BENJAMIN SMOKE

USA, 1999
REM's Michael Stipe first alerted directors Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen to the undiscovered musical genius of Benjamin Smoke; a performer with a voice of lyrical agility akin to a cross between Tom Wa… More »

AMONG THE ELVES

Sweden, 1999
Freddie Wadling, the subject of this striking documentary, would only undergo life-saving surgery when his doctor lied to him and told him that Captain Beefhearl's mother had phoned and told him to g… More »

© Melbourne International Film Festival 2013.

Site by MeccaMedialight. Powered by Textstem CMS.