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Downtown 81

  Unrated HD Closed Captioning

Edo Bertoglio

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Plot Summary

Starring the legendary American painter, graffiti artist, poet and musician Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), Downtown 81 is both a post-modernist fairytale and a vivid depiction of the downtown New York art and music scene in the early 1980s. The film chronicles a day in the life of a 19 year-old starving artist (Basquiat) who must raise money to reclaim the apartment from which he has been evicted. Hoping to sell a painting to earn the rent, he wanders the downtown streets, painting in hand, encountering painters, models, junkies, graffiti artists, rappers and rockers whose lives and performances provide a slice of life from one of the most exciting periods in American culture. A "lost" film, shot in 1981 but not completed and released until two decades later, Downtown 81 not only captures one of the twentieth century's most interesting and lively artists in Basquiat, but also features music from many of leading musical artists of the era including Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Tuxedomoon, The Plastics, James White and the Blacks, The Lounge Lizards, and DNA.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews

TOMATOMETER

73%
  • Reviews Counted: 22
  • Fresh: 16
  • Rotten: 6
  • Average Rating: 5.7/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: It's as a documentary that Downtown 81 is most successful. – Dave Kehr, New York Times, Jul 16, 2008

Fresh: Doesn't dawdle and, despite some eye-rolling dialogue, is a generally amiable time-trip. – J. Hoberman, Village Voice, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: Gives us a glimpse of the city as it was, suggesting that there was something revolutionary, even inspiring, about those days of not-so yore. – John Petrakis, Chicago Tribune, Jun 24, 2010

Rotten: Amateurish in the extreme, the film is a feast of bohemian cliche, bad writing and worse acting. – Jonathan Foreman, New York Post, Jun 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes
Downtown 81
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  • $12.99
  • Genre: Independent
  • Released: 2001

Customer Ratings

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