After seeing the below trailer, I’m excited to see director Tamra Davis’s documentary portrait of painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Radiant Child. The other day I found a photo I took of him at a New York nightclub opening in 1986 in a box in my garage. He’s just glaring at the camera, like he’s pissed off, but he looks cool doing it. The same roll had photos of Andy Warhol and Keith Haring.
A friend of the graffiti/Neo-expressionist painter, director Tamra Davis paints her own portrait of the artist, who died at age 27, and offers an indictment of celebrity culture.
Davis met Basquiat while she was attending film school and working as a gallery assistant in Los Angeles. In 1985, she filmed an interview of Basquiat, which comprises the centerpiece of this film, along with rare footage of him painting.
“I saw anger in him but I also saw this whole other side of him, very intelligent, funny, filled with life, smiles, dances and super-flirty, super-charming,” said Davis. “That was the person who, I felt, people were getting it wrong.”
Davis said being around Basquiat there was “always so much happening, let’s do this, let’s go here, let’s see how far we can push this, what would happen if I did this, let’s go as fast as we can, let’s fly to Paris, let’s go out to dinner to the fanciest restaurant and order the best wine. Pushing the limit the furthest, so being around him was really fun but also crazy.”
The documentary, which will have its theatrical release later this year, is a collage of period footage, including the interview with Basquiat and new interviews with his friends/colleagues, such as Julian Schnabel, Larry Gagosian, Fab 5 Freddy, Glenn O’Brien and others.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child: Director Tamra Davis Paints a Portrait of the Artist (WSJ)
At the time, Ebert had no idea who the Sex Pistols were. The Pistols, though, very much wanted to work with the creative team behind Dolls, a movie Johnny Rotten deemed as being, “true to life.” It’s a funny, informative account that somehow, along the way, accommodates both P.J. Proby and Scientology.
As to why the movie, Who Killed Bambi?, never happened, various reasons have been circulated: Maybe 20th Century Fox pulled the plug after reading the resulting screenplay, or McLaren’s shaky finances would never have covered the film’s budget. Or perhaps, most intriguingly, (Princess) Grace Kelly, who served on the Fox board of directors, simply didn’t want the studio to back another Russ Meyer X-travaganza (likely profits be damned).
Just then the SEX PISTOLS appear on the screen. They’re dressed in what could be described as Proto-Punk: The look is definitely different from that of the other people on the line, and yet isn’t as well-defined as it will be later on.
They split up to work the line: They’re of it, but not in it. STEVE carries his guitar, vaguely suggesting they’re into music of some sort. SID VICIOUS goes into his famous Sun-Glasses dance, his hands inverted and placed in front of his eyes to suggest either binoculars or a Batman-style headdress. The Pistols seem amused by the notion that people would stand in line in an unemployment queue at all.
Proby watches, fascinated by their wonderfully Downtrodden look, as they approach the others.
SID VICIOUS (to the Miner)
Why stand in line, you silly twit?
It’s your money - why wait for it?
Why don’t they provide seating out here?
The crowd grows silent, uneasy, in the face of the attack.
They take it with one hand and give it back with the other.
So smash it and take it!
And while Ebert refuses to comment on his script, “I can’t discuss what I wrote, why I wrote it, or what I should or shouldn’t have written. Frankly, I have no idea,” here he is in ‘88 with Meyer and McLaren discussing—and venting over—Who Killed Bambi?
The trailer for Chris Morris’s Jihadi comedy “Four Lions” went up today (the film has already shown at Sundance). Guardian review also attached below.
Chris Morris is still the most incendiary figure working in the British entertainment industry. Even if you have not read reports of Four Lions’ premiere at Sundance, it should come as no surprise that Morris – the man behind surreal short film My Wrongs 8245-8249 and 117, and the TV series Nathan Barley, has taken on arguably the most bad-taste subject imaginable: a cell of homegrown jihadi bombers, feverishly plotting martyrdom from terrace houses in Doncaster.
The title is offered up with sledgehammer irony: our crew of wannabe killers are as fervent as football fans, and at one point — in a parody of the 7/7 tube bombers’ group hug caught on a station surveillance camera — cuddle up and chant motivational phrases.
But of course it’s as contrary an idea as everything else Morris sets up: these are anti-patriots of the most unmistakable kind. Added to which, there are actually five of them. Omar (Riz Ahmed) is the intense, coiled-spring leader, Fessel (Adeel Akhtar) his clueless, dozy lieutenant; Waj (Kayvan Novak), an easily confused bruiser; harmless-looking Hassan (Arsher Ali), a late sub when one of the others enters heaven a little earlier than planned; and Barry (Nigel Lindsay), — the most bizarre of all the “lions” — a Caucasian convert to Islam with a streak of ferocious invective and penchant for little hats.
As Karina lathers up, the Situationist engineer himself intones in a voice-over: “The advertisements during intermissions are the truest reflection of an intermission from life.” While you’re left to ponder that one, check out what many feel to be one of Vivre sa Vie‘s more sublime moments, Nana’s Dance:
Although it was covered in the Los Angeles Times and shown at a couple of high profile film festivals, Spike Stewart’s mid 80’s doc “D.U.I.” has been utterly lost to obscurity. A collection of completely obnoxious performances captured roughly
on semi-pro VHS gear, it probably deserves its unknown status but is still a rare glimpse into a very marginalized and hilarious scene of performance art tinged bands. And yes, that’s 17 year old me on drums with Severed Head in a Bag. NSFW !