Blank City

2009, Documentary, 1h 39m

44 Reviews 500+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Blank City pays affectionate tribute to the No Wave filmmakers' movement -- and the bygone New York City that birthed it. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In the late 1970s a group of aspiring New York filmmakers, inspired by the burgeoning underground music scene, takes to the streets to shoot guerrilla-style movies and in the process fosters the influential and highly regarded No Wave movement. This film examines the events that led to No Wave's creation, in which the city itself, which was in decay at the time, plays a significant role. Featuring interviews with Jim Jarmusch, John Waters, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry and Lydia Lunch.

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Critic Reviews for Blank City

Audience Reviews for Blank City

  • Nov 18, 2013
    "Blank City" is a spirited and informative documentary about a group of low budget filmmakers operating in New York City in the 70's and 80's. While I could point out that the documentary could have used a better organizational and chronological structure, I think at the same time that would have clashed with the punk music like aesthetic of the movies that were made using 8mm cameras that were bought, stolen or borrowed.(I'm no legal expert but I am pretty sure that the statute of limitations has expired on all the financing via petty larceny.) Of them, some of the names might seem familiar to the casual observer like Jim Jarmusch and Steve Buscemi. And it admittedly did take a few minutes to remember where I recognized Richard Kern, now mostly known for nude photography, from. So, it is perhaps ironic that success and money killed this nascent movement, especially the gentrifying of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, home turf for so many of these artists.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • May 18, 2012
    "Blank City" may seem alien to viewers who don't have an affinity with punk culture, but this documentary is an engrossing look at the late-'70s, underground cinema that rose alongside New York's No Wave/CBGB's musical movements. Building on Andy Warhol's "Everybody is a director, everybody is a star" ethic, a clique of rebellious street characters grabbed Super 8 cameras and began making movies. The results were raw, amateurish and often controversial, but had a refreshing directness and lack of artifice. Few of the discussed works are well-known or readily available today (prime exceptions: Susan Seidelman's "Smithereens" and Jim Jarmusch's "Stranger Than Paradise"), so "Blank City" is bound to include fresh information for even hardcore film buffs. Filmmakers like Richard Kern, Eric Mitchell, Amos Poe, Beth B, Nick Zedd, Charlie Ahearn and Vivienne Dick are featured, and participating actors such as Steve Buscemi, Deborah Harry, Lydia Lunch and John Lurie are interviewed. Thurston Moore (inevitably), James Chance, Ann Magnuson, Jim "Foetus" Thirlwell and John Waters add further soundbites.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 02, 2012
    Documentary covering the "no-wave" film movement in NYC circa 1977-1984, focusing on Jim Jarmusch, the Cinema of Transgression, and the connections to performance art and punk rock. Very informative if you're not aware of this period; very few of these amateurish art movies are ever screened (after the breakthrough film STRANGER THAN PARADISE, the next most famous example of the genre may just be GEEK MAGGOT BINGO!) Debbie Harry, Steve Buscemi and John Waters (of course) are also interviewed.
    Greg S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 14, 2011
    A fascinating look at a New York City that is gone forever..some would say for the better, others for the worse. This is a tale of a City in decay..and the fantastic art motivated by that decay.
    John B Super Reviewer

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