7.2/10
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Downtown 81 (1981)

New York Beat Movie (original title)
Unrated | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 14 March 2001 (France)
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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Edo Bertoglio

Writer:

Glenn O'Brien

On Disc

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3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Michel Basquiat ... Jean
Richard Weigand Richard Weigand ... Doctor
Cyndy Schneidau Cyndy Schneidau ... Nurse
Millie Schneidau Millie Schneidau ... Nurse
Steven Z. Soszynski Steven Z. Soszynski ... Grocer
Anna Schroeder Anna Schroeder ... Béatrice
Giorgio Gomelsky Giorgio Gomelsky ... Landlord (as Giorgio Giomelsky)
Ted Bafaloukos Ted Bafaloukos ... Junk Dealer
Bobby Grossman Bobby Grossman ... East Village Junkie
Mickey Clean Mickey Clean ... Pot Dealer
Roberta Bayley Roberta Bayley ... Street Girl
Dave Street Dave Street ... Musician
Tish Bellomo Tish Bellomo ... Manic Panic Girl
Snooky Bellomo Snooky Bellomo ... Manic Panic Girl
Kool Kyle Kool Kyle ... Rapper
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Storyline

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. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

New York Beat Films

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 March 2001 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Glenn O'Brien's New York Beat Movie See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,436, 15 July 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$100,293, 28 October 2001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1981, 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. See more »

Quotes

Jean Michel Basquiat: I'm an artist. When you tell people that they usually say, 'what's your medium?' I usually say, 'extra large.'
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the 2001 version, Downtown 81, Saul Williams does the voiceover for Jean-Michel Basquiat's character. See more »

Connections

Featured in Basquiat (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

15 Minutes
Written and Performed by Chris Stein
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not very good unless only interested in NY music scene of '81
22 September 2002 | by elrileySee all my reviews

The only redeeming quality of this film is that it shows bands and their music when it was changing in NY during '81. As for the film itself it has at least three major flaws. First of all, there is narration throughout the film, which is not required at all. In the few places where there is some explanation necessary just adding a little dialogue would have gone a long way. Secondly, there was no obvious attempt to synchronize any of the audio, in fact it is quite apparent that most of the dialogue was recorded later with no attempt to match the film. The third flaw was in the ending. I will not give the ending away for those brave souls that would endure the torture of sitting through the film, but it commits a cardinal sin in screenwriting. Not worth the money or time it takes to see this, unless you are a fan of one of the represented bands.


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