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Blank City – Céline Danhier – Starz Denver Film Festival 2010

 It was an era that will never repeat. It was New York City in the ’70s, when creativity rose from the ashes of the East Village and the Bowery in the form of music, film, and art, stripped down and true to life to the point that one filmmaker was detained by police at the airport for the possession of underground films.

In her documentary debut “Blank City,” filmmaker Céline Danhier pulls scenes from Jean-Michel Basquiat and Vincent Gallo’s “Downtown 81,” interviews with John Waters along with New Wave pioneers of the day Lydia Lunch and Thurston Moore, and takes us back in history via black and white Super-8 and 16mm film clips of Jim Jarmusch, Debra Harry and Steve Buscemi.

Thankfully we have this part of our current culture’s historical roots, which is part of what’s being called Vanishing New York. CBGBs is now a designer fashion shoppe. Dank, dirty and dangerous living spaces, once available for a song to artists to live and do their work without having to maintain full-time jobs, have been replaced by million-dollar apartments bought up by hedge fund managers and the celebrity elite.

Those days are indeed gone, but through “Blank City,” we can relive them if but for 94 minutes.

Debbie Harry puts it this way, “It felt like our lives were movies. It was very cinematic.”

Blank City at SDFF – Nov 6 & 7.


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