Downtown 81

Film - Feature | March 16 | 5:30 p.m. |  Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

 Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Jean-Michel Basquiat is, like Van Gogh, one of cinema’s favorite artists. He plays a fictionalized version of himself in Downtown 81, a gritty urban fairy tale written and produced by music critic Glenn O’Brien. It depicts the charismatic Basquiat wandering through a blighted early-eighties Lower East Side, tagging, trying to sell a painting, looking for a place to sleep, and dropping in on performances or rehearsals by James White and the Blacks, DNA, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and others. Unfinished due to financial issues, the film was finally reconstructed and released in 2000, a compelling glimpse of a New York bohemia long gone.

 afox@berkeley.edu, 510-642-0808