Blank City

Blank City (2009) is a documentary about the film movement in New York City in the late 1970s with interviews with the main characters there including Amos Poe, Jim Jarmusch, Lydia Lunch,John Waters, Deborah Harry and others. The film actually starts with the arrival of super 8 cameras in 1968 but then skips rapidly to the late 1970s. Most of the characters talk about how they were in bands, made movies and all lived very cheaply in an NYC that was devasted. From the ‘No Wave’ cinema of the late 1970s then the ‘transgressionist’ films of the early 1980s are talked about. Most of the interviewees go on to talk about how ground breaking it all was and are amusingly self-important. It’s actually notable that so few of the people involved are actually known outside a small circle. A few of them take credit for the rebirth of independent cinema.  The participants all seemed to have a lot of fun making the films though. The film presents an interesting period in NYC of the collapse of the city. It’s hard to believe now that the Village had slums and abandoned buildings in it given the area’s appearance now. The film also also gives an impression of a period from which Talking Heads, the Ramones and Sonic Youth came out of.


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