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Downtown 81 Movie Poster
Plot, Details & Awards

Downtown 81

Not Rated In Theaters 07/13/2001 , 71min.
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Plot & Details

Originally shot in 1980-81, this film, directed by Edo Bertoglio, is a rare real-life snapshot of ultra-hip subculture of post-punk era Manhattan. Starring renowned artist Jean Michel Basquiat (who died in 1988 at age 27) and featuring such early Village hipsters as Melle Mel, John Lurie, and Lydia Lunch, the film is a bizarre elliptical urban fairytale. The film opens with Jean (Basquiat) in the hospital with an undisclosed ailment. After checking out, he happens upon an enigmatic woman, Beatrice (Anna Schroeder), who drives around in a convertible. He arrives at his apartment only to discover that his landlord is evicting him. Later, while trying to sell his art work, he meets up with musician Arto Lindsay and his band DNA. Jean eventually does manage to sell some of his art work to a rich middle-aged woman who is interested in more than just his art, but she pays with a check. As the film progresses, he wanders the streets of New York, looking for Beatrice. He happens upon a bag lady (Debbie Harry) who turns into a princess when he kisses her. As a reward, she gives him a stack of cash. Abandoned in the mid-'80s due to financial problems, producer Maripol Fauque rediscovered the film and cleaned it up in 1999. It was screened at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.

Miami International Film Festival

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2009 Miami International Film Festival Film Presented Nominated

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