Director: Edo Bertoglio

Writer(s): Glenn O’Brien

Starring: Jean Michel Basquiat, Richard Weigand, Cyndy Schneidau, Millie Schneidau, Steven Z. Soszynski, Anna Schroeder, Giorgio Gomelsky, Ted Bafaloukos, Bobby Grossman, Mickey Clean, Roberta Bayley, Dave Street, Tish Bellomo, Snooky Bellomo, Kool Kyle, Claudia Summers, Tuxedomoon, Steven Brown, Peter Principle, Blaine Reininger, David McDermott, Catherine Rebennack, Cookie Mueller, Steve Mass, Ernest Scaglione, George Dubose, Ronnie Cutrone, John Browner, Tom Baker, Larry ‘Ratso’ Sloman, Walter Steding, Lindzee Smith, Kristian Hoffman, Marty Thau, Daniela Morera, Lisa Rosen, Marshall Chess, Jimmy Destri, D.N.A., Arto Lindsay, Tim Wright, Ikue Mori, Michael Holman, Olivier Mosset, Bradley Field, The Felons, Chris Stein, Clem Burke, Snuky Tate, Michael Sullivan, Glenn O’Brien, The Plastics, Chica Nakanishi, Toshio Nakanishi, Hajime Tachibana, Ma Chang, Takemi Shima, Mitsuru, Maripol, Eszter Balint, Anne Carlisle, Barbara Egan, Patrice Kamins, Lucille, Hal Ludacer, Benedicte Siroux, Vicki Pedersen, Haoui Montaug, Diane Brill, Kid Creole and The Coconuts, Kid Creole, Adriana Kaegi, Cheryl Poirier, Ronnie Griffith, Coati Mundi, Lori Eastside, Andrew Lloyd, Winston Grennan, Carol Coleman, Mark Mazur, Peter Schott, Danny Rosen, Elliott Murphy, Compton Maddux, Anita Sarko, John Morton, James White and the Blacks, James Chance, Joe Bowie, Byron Bowie, Bern Nix, Tomas Doncker, Richie Harrison, Colin Wade, Bemshi, Cherie Marilyn, Karen Geniece, Lenny Ferrari, Victor Bockris, Patrick Geoffrois, Amos Poe, Betsy Sussler, Vinnie Grouppi, Tav Falco, Debbie Harry, Steve Sabato, Jo Shane, Diego Cortez, Vanya Edwards, Fab 5 Freddy, Vincent Gallo, John Lurie, Debi Mazar, ‘Lee’ George Quinones

Synopsis: The film is a day in the life of a young artist, Jean Michel Basquiat, who needs to raise money to reclaim the apartment from which he has been evicted. He wanders the downtown streets carrying a painting he hopes to sell, encountering friends, whose lives (and performances) we peek into. He finally manages to sell his painting to a wealthy female admirer, but he’s paid by check. Low on cash, he spends the evening wandering from club to club, looking for a beautiful girl he had met earlier, so he’ll have a place to spend the night. Downtown 81 not only captures one of the most interesting and lively artists of the twentieth century as he is poised for fame, but it is a slice of life from one of the most exciting periods in American culture, with the emergence of new wave music, new painting, hip hop and graffiti.

Release Date: March 14, 2001 (France) | Length: 72 min | Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama | MPAA Rating: Unrated

Note: Original Title: New York Beat Movie. Financial problems prevented the post-production and release of the film. Subsequently, parts of the film became lost over the years. After much searching, the missing materials were located in 1998. Finally, post production began in 1999 and the film was released in 2000. The original soundtrack became destroyed over the years. The producers were able to get most of the original cast to re-dub their dialogue. But Jean Michel Basquiat died in 1988. So Saul Williams was hired to dub Basquiat’s dialogue. [IMDB]. I would need to watch this film to better identify people.


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