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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

at Amazon

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

Gross USA:

$108,058

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$108,058
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

Since 1981, Glenn O'Brien had possession of all of the live musical performance recordings. Unfortunately, the original voice soundtrack was lost in Italy by the film storage vault. 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. 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

The Closet
Written by Lydia Lunch
Performed by Lydia Lunch, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (as Teenage Jesus and The Jerks)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Absolutely fascinating...
22 November 2000 | by Xanadu-2See all my reviews

...document of life in downtown New York 1981. I saw this at the Stockholm film festival, November 2000. Apparently the film had just been completed. Where has it been for 20 years????

I loved seeing all of those people from the art and rock worlds. Jean Michel Basqiat is so cute and a good actor too! What a shame he died young. I didn´t know he had a band too. It´s fun seeing New Wave bands like Kid Creole and the Plastics. Gorgeous Debbie Harry is in it too!!! *sigh!*

Everyone is so colorful! I love the 80´s fashions... It has a dreamlike feel to it. See it if you can!


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