Blank City (2011)
Critic Consensus: Blank City pays affectionate tribute to the No Wave filmmakers' movement -- and the bygone New York City that birthed it.
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Critic Reviews for Blank City
No Wave filmmakers claimed their work was born out of an angry, nihilistic "no," but their legacy - and this vital documentary - suggests that they also opened up a whole other way of saying "yes."
The films emerge as fascinating period pieces filled with too-cool-for-school 70s types; but the most potent figure in the film is New York itself, decrepit but glowering angrily in the background.
A dusty feature-length slideshow presented by aging hipsters.
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.
As maddeningly undisciplined as the movie community she's exploring, but it still stands as a worthy historical document of NYC's recent past and the birth of a new way of making films.
Audience Reviews for Blank City
"Blank City" is a spirited and informative documentary about a group of low budget filmmakers operating in New York City in the 70's and 80's. While I could point out that the documentary could have used a better organizational and chronological structure, I think at the same time that would have clashed with the punk music like aesthetic of the movies that were made using 8mm cameras that were bought, stolen or borrowed.(I'm no legal expert but I am pretty sure that the statute of limitations has expired on all the financing via petty larceny.) Of them, some of the names might seem familiar to the casual observer like Jim Jarmusch and Steve Buscemi. And it admittedly did take a few minutes to remember where I recognized Richard Kern, now mostly known for nude photography, from. So, it is perhaps ironic that success and money killed this nascent movement, especially the gentrifying of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, home turf for so many of these artists.
A fascinating look at a New York City that is gone forever..some would say for the better, others for the worse. This is a tale of a City in decay..and the fantastic art motivated by that decay.
"Blank City" may seem alien to viewers who don't have an affinity with punk culture, but this documentary is an engrossing look at the late-'70s, underground cinema that rose alongside New York's No Wave/CBGB's musical movements. Building on Andy Warhol's "Everybody is a director, everybody is a star" ethic, a clique of rebellious street characters grabbed Super 8 cameras and began making movies. The results were raw, amateurish and often controversial, but had a refreshing directness and lack of artifice. Few of the discussed works are well-known or readily available today (prime exceptions: Susan Seidelman's "Smithereens" and Jim Jarmusch's "Stranger Than Paradise"), so "Blank City" is bound to include fresh information for even hardcore film buffs. Filmmakers like Richard Kern, Eric Mitchell, Amos Poe, Beth B, Nick Zedd, Charlie Ahearn and Vivienne Dick are featured, and participating actors such as Steve Buscemi, Deborah Harry, Lydia Lunch and John Lurie are interviewed. Thurston Moore (inevitably), James Chance, Ann Magnuson, Jim "Foetus" Thirlwell and John Waters add further soundbites.
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