fbpx Downtown 81 | Gene Siskel Film Center
Film Series: Runs & Limited Engagements

Downtown 81

1981/2000, Edo Bertoglio, USA, 75 min.
With Jean-Michel Basquiat, Deborah Harry, Arto Lindsay, John Lurie

Show Times

  • Fri, Dec 13th 2:15pm
  • Fri, Dec 13th 6:15pm
  • Sat, Dec 14th 8:00pm
  • Mon, Dec 16th 6:15pm
  • Wed, Dec 18th 8:15pm
New 35mm print!

“An extraordinary real-life snapshot of hip, arty, clubland Manhattan in the post-punk era.”—Brendan Kelly, Variety

“A nostalgic portrait of pre-Giuliani Manhattan, an unruly place full of garbage, graffiti, rubble-strewn lots, unlicensed after-hours clubs and highly idealistic kids eager to make their mark as avant-garde artists and musicians.”—Dave Kehr, The New York Times

Scripted by influential columnist/editor/scenester Glenn O'Brien, this fascinating artifact was shot in 1980-1 under the title NEW YORK BEAT, interrupted by business problems, and completed twenty years later. The real Jean-Michel Basquiat, 19 years old and not yet famous, appears as a fictionalized version of himself. Evicted from his apartment, he wanders charismatically through the Lower Manhattan downtown scene, scrawling soon-to-be-priceless graffiti and listening to now-vintage musical acts, including DNA, The Plastics, Tuxedomoon, James White and the Blacks, and Kid Creole & the Coconuts. New 35mm print. (MR)

Play Trailer