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Underground Cinema: Blank City


Directed by Celine Danhier

92 minutes

In English

During the late ’70s, downtown New York experienced a huge wave of do-it-yourself independent everything: music, filmmaking, art, fashion and lifestyles. This scene has long disappeared, but it still lingers like a ghost over the city. Coinciding with bands like Blondie, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks , The Ramones and Patti Smith came a whole new approach to combining art and life. Blank City largely focuses on the film-making aspect… young people with new ideas, no money and a fiery spirit, who picked up super-8 movie cameras and actually created a new underground culture.

The films that were churned out were wild, dirty (in all senses of the word), transgressive, but most importantly they were different. They envisioned other possibilities, they rebelled against the bland consumer culture that was swelling in America and encroaching on NYC. As this film documents, many well known artists came out of this thriving underground film milieu… people like Basquiat, Jim Jarmusch, Klaus Nomi and Steve Buscemi. This film, made by French director Celine Danhier, jumps headlong into this long-gone world. It retrieves priceless archival material and mixes it with insightful interviews with people like Debbie Harry, Steve Buscemi, John Waters, Jim Jarmusch, Thurston Moore, Lydia Lunch, Amos Poe, Beth B., Richard Kern and John Lurie.

“Today, Manhattan is a byword for overpriced property, overexposed landmarks and overdressed fashionistas. In the late 70s, however, it was rat-infested, crime-crippled, cheap and nasty – somewhere for America to dump its immigrants, poor people and artists. Music, art, fashion and filmmaking burgeoned, fueled by drugs, dares, fads, feuds, and a fair helping of madness.”

This will be a high-definition screening

8 December 2019


Underground Cinema

Every week and since already 14 years, Jeffrey Babcock shows unique movies in English or with English subtitles at a number of venues in Amsterdam, as part of his underground cinemas. Forgotten movies that should have been classics, neglected flics, lesser-known gems, always with a personal introduction by the programmer.