Blank City | Chicago Reader

Blank City

Celine Danhier combines talking heads with a flood of Super-8 and 16-millimeter film clips to create this entertaining 2010 documentary about the explosion of punk energy that propelled New York City's art, music, and cinema underground from the mid-70s through the mid-80s. Emphasizing the DIY filmmakers who congregated on the Lower East Side, Danhier considers the no-wave movies of the CBGB era (Amos Poe's The Foreigner, Eric Mitchell's Underground U.S.A., Vivienne Dick's Beauty Becomes the Beast) and the self-proclaimed "Cinema of Transgression" that followed (Nick Zedd's They Eat Scum, Richard Kern's Fingered), nodding sideways to such idiosyncratic projects as Edo Bertoglio's Downtown 81, Charlie Ahearn's Wild Style, and the early films of Jim Jarmusch. All these filmmakers and more appear before the camera to celebrate the scene, noting a familiar pattern of freedom and excitement, sudden embrace by the mainstream media, then decay and collapse (accelerated in this case by drug addiction and the early specter of AIDS).



  • Celine Danhier


  • Aviva Wishnow

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