Downtown 81


Downtown 81 (a.k.a. New York Beat Movie) is a film that was shot in 1980-1981 and released in 2000. The film, directed by Edo Bertoglio and written and produced by Glenn O’Brien and Patrick Montgomery, with post-production in 1999-2000 by Glenn O’Brien and Maripol, is a rare real-life snapshot of an ultra-hip subculture of post-punk era Manhattan. Starring renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and featuring such Village artists as James Chance, Amos Poe, Walter Steding, and Tav Falco, the film is a bizarre elliptical urban fairy tale. In 1999, Michael Zilkha, founder of ZE Records (the label of several of the film’s artists), became the film’s executive producer. The film opens with Jean (Basquiat) in the hospital with an undisclosed ailment. After checking out, he happens upon an enigmatic woman, Beatrice (Anna Schroeder), who drives around in a convertible. He arrives at his apartment only to discover that his landlord, played by former Yardbirds manager Giorgio Gomelsky, is evicting him. … Jean-Michel Basquiat was homeless at the time of the movie and slept in the production office during most of the shooting. The film production crew bought Basquiat canvas and paints to make paintings for the film. The paintings that appear in the movie belonging to Basquiat’s character are by Basquiat himself, and among his first canvases. … The soundtrack features music by: Jean-Michel Basquiat with Andy Hernandez; Basquiat’s own band, Gray; John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards, DNA, Tuxedomoon, the Plastics, Marvin Pontiac, Kenny Burrell, the Specials, Chris Stein, Melle Mel with Blondie, Liquid Liquid, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, James White and the Blacks, Vincent Gallo, Lydia Lunch, Steve French and Suicide. Many of the recordings were of live performances, but DNA and Tuxedomoon were recorded in the studio for the soundtrack. …”
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Archive: Downtown 81 1:07:02

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