New 35mm print
Directed by Edo Bertoglio
$12 / $8 Speed members
“A fascinating if fragmented, dreamlike look at the downtown art-music-fashion scene of a yeasty, creative era.”—Jane Summer, Dallas Morning News
In 1980, writer and Andy Warhol associate Glenn O’Brien, Swiss photographer Edo Bertoglio, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, a graffiti innovator and noise music artist who’d just begun to exhibit his paintings, hit the streets of lower Manhattan to make a movie about the bombed-out bohemia that they knew, with a script by O’Brien, Bertoglio directing, and Basquiat, a naturally compelling presence, starring.
Left incomplete due to money problems and assembled for release in 2000, Downtown 81 follows Basquiat trying to move a painting while hustling for a place to sleep. The film became a window into a lost world of crazy creative ferment on the margins. The film features John Lurie, Fab 5 Freddy, and Debbie Harry, with musical performances by DNA, James White and the Blacks, and Kid Creole and the Coconuts—and Manhattan, in all its mangy glory. 1981, U.S., restored 35mm print, 72 minutes. Recommended for 16+.