Blank City (Danhler, 2010): ICA Cinema, 7.30pm
Here's the ICA introduction to an American documentary on experimental film-making in New York in the late 70s: In London, Punk was beginning its heady rise. Across the Atlantic, New York City was financially on its knees, but about to witness an unprecedented outpouring of creativity under the No Wave banner. Blank City documents the early years of Debbie Harry, Jim Jarmusch, John Lurie, Lizzie Borden and many more artists, musicians and filmmakers inspired by the likes of Warhol and Basquiat to make art on their own terms with whatever materials they had to hand. What's fascinating is how the lack of resources in a major global city presented a freedom to experiment which saw artists from all disciplines exchange art-forms oblivious to any rules. So musicians turned into filmmakers, while painters picked up guitars. Performance was the key. The desire to express, be seen and heard.
A short lived movement, the No Wave left a still-resonating legacy. Nick Zedd, Richard Kern, Scott and Beth B's films all formed the Cinema of Transgression which can be seen today in the work of filmmakers such as Gaspar Noe and Romain Gavras. An amazing documentary showcasing the heart of the No Wave scene then and now. Essential.
Here is the trailer.