Magazine article Herizons

Blank City

Magazine article Herizons

Blank City

Article excerpt


Directed by Celine D an hier


Long ago, before MTV, before the World Wide Web, before the proliferation of zilliondollar condos, New York City was home to fledgling artists. They lived cheap and survived just enough to make art.

In her film Blank City, Celine Danhier documents a time in the East Village and Lower East Side New York during the late 70s and early '80s when artists gathered like cowboys in the dirty Wild West, found cameras, and shot their way into notoriety. In the midst of the decay and the danger, artists lived, influenced each other and took risks. Danhier captures the vigour, the energy ofthat lost time.

Blank City, its title an homage to a Richard Hell song, documents the underground filmmakers of that downtown scene. As with punk rock, which happened simultaneously and has been extensively documented, these directors and actors lived by a do-ityourself philosophy: Neither a lack of money, nor access to equipment, or lack of talent, experience or training could stop them.

Those who wanted to, made films, and did so unmotivated by the promise of accolades. The object wasn't a million hits on YouTube, a million-dollar production deal or even a million dollars. The object was to make art. Fame was irrelevant. People did whatthey had to do, often taking enormous risks. Some of these films have also become important works (Susan S e id e I man's Smithereens and Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise are two examples) in the cinematic canon. …

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