Location: Bartos Screening Room
Dir. Edo Bertoglio. 1981. 72 mins. New 35mm print. With Jean-Michel Basquiat, Debbie Harry, John Lurie, Fab 5 Freddie, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Tuxedomoon, The Plastics, Debbie Mazar, Cookie Mueller, Lee Quinones. In 1981, writer and 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. Left incomplete due to money problems and assembled for release in 2000, Downtown 81, which follows Basquiat trying to move a painting while hustling for a place to sleep, became a window on a lost world of life on the margins and crazy creative ferment. Featuring John Lurie, Fab Five 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. A Metrograph Pictures release.