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Article: Basquiat & Cinema

Basquiat et le 7e art

Basquiat & Cinema

There have been many artists in the cinema from all time. Real ones like in Pialat's Van Gogh or Mike Leigh's Mr Turner but also fictional artists like infin août, début septembre by Olivier Assayas or the photographer Jeff Jefferies in Rear Windows  by Alfred Hitchcock.

The subject of films on art is so vast that it will be impossible to give an exhaustive overview here. So let's focus on an artist, and not just any artist: Jean Michel Basquiat.

Brooklyn artist who died prematurely, he collaborated with Andy Warhol and left a lasting mark on contemporary art.


Let's start with the obvious with the Biopic "Basquiat" by Julian Schnabel. The contemporary artist goes behind a camera for the first time to recount the rise and fall of Basquiat. He recounts in particular the arrival of Basquiat and how it called into question all his art. Rather well received, the film will make Schnabel want to continue his career as a director with films like "Le scaphandre et le papillon" or the recent "At Eternity's Gate" which looks back on the life of Van Gogh.

Let's continue with a much more unique film: Downtown 81. Shot between December 1980 and January 1981, the film, although using very real characters (Basquiat, Diego Cortez, James Chance etc.), the film is not a documentary. , but rather a magical ballad that takes the pulse of New York at the time.

Funded by Fiorucci and Rizzoli, the film was dropped in the mid-1980s.

In 1999, a dramatic turn of events. Glenn O'Brien and Maripol resurrect the film (a decade after Basquiat's death) and present it to the Quinzaine des réalisateurs at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000.

Basquiat X Blondie

Rapture is a historically important hit as it is the first "Rap" music to be broadcast on MTV. Did you know that Basquiat makes an appearance in the music video as a shy DJ? Indeed, the artist will replace Grandmaster Flash when the latter does not show up for the shoot.

The documentaries

Music video director with the Smiths, Depeche Mode, Sonic Youth and the Beastie Boys to her list, Tamra Davis tackles in 2010 a documentary on Basquiat fueled by archive footage and unpublished interviews.

In official competition at the Deauville festival, the film was generally well received despite some criticism of its very / too musical editing.

Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat is a film that looks at New York and the fertile ground that it represents for many artists. Portrait of an America in full change, the film also relies on a good number of interviews with Basquiat's contemporaries.

Basquiat Rage to Rich is interested in the relationship between Basquiat and Warhol, but also in the spiral of self-destruction into which the artist has fallen. Crowned with a Bafta, this BBC documentary is a staple on the small screen.

Basquiat is also in a lot of documentaries and films relating this time.

This article is also an opportunity for us to announce the release of the Bearbrick Basquiat V7 which will take place on 06/17/2021 at 4 p.m.

It will be in 1000% version and 100% + 400% version.


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