More than anything this film made me feel sad that I'm not young. And that I live in a safe city with coffee chains on every corner and have a home full of soft furnishings and well appointed furniture. And central heating. And a pension. I want to be 21, in Manhattan in the early 80's, experimenting with life literature paint and sex. But that was his life - not mine.
Julian Schnabels 'Basquiat' was ridiculous with hammy performances galore. 'Downtown 81' is an exciting artefact but only gives a snapshot of the Basquiat story. This film gave me what I had previously wanted, an overview of his life and art. Its rough around the edges but there is some excellent interview footage with the man himself, it also manages to perfectly expose the pretentiousness of 80's New York.
All hail Tamara Davis. This documentary is direct to the heart. "His paintings were deliberate enigmas and said GET WITH IT. See the complexity of our culture. I'll give you a few hints." This world is complex. I hope Sir Jean-Michel Basquiat is orchestrating all this, through his physical death. Long live the king.
Magnificient documentary detailing the short artistic life of Jean-Michel Basquiat. An obvious labor of love for director Tamra Davis who has certainly never shown hint of the talent displayed here. Yes the film is missing commentary from the detractors and missing some key people involved in his career but it doesn't hinder the end product. Who would have ever thought one would be nostalgic for 80's NYC.