Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground | Chicago Reader

Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground

As much a celebration as it is a documentary, this profile of experimental filmmaker and legendary scenester Barbara Rubin persuasively argues that the avant-garde movies made in New York City in the 1960s comprise one of the most important movements in cinema history. Director Chuck Smith touches on such major figures as Andy Warhol, Jonas Mekas, and Shirley Clarke; not only does he pithily explain their significance to American art, but he conveys the excitement of their work through a combination of carefully selected clips and a poetic editing style that reflects a thorough understanding of their filmmaking. The film characterizes Rubin as a zealous champion of avant-garde cinema and a crucial connector within the experimental community, having introduced Warhol to both Bob Dylan and the Velvet Underground. It also paints her as something of an enigma when it considers the final decade of her life, when she turned her back on the art scene to become a devout Orthodox Jew.

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