Blank City includes compelling interviews with such luminaries as Jarmusch, Zedd, Poe, John Waters, Steve Buscemi, Lydia Lunch, Lizzie Borden, Eric Mitchell, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Bette Gordon, Glenn O'Brien, John Lurie, and anyone who was anyone in the late-'70s East Village art scene. Ample film clips from seminal works bring to life a time and a place lost to gentrification and commercialization in the '80s, but that lives on in a still-thriving tradition of avant-garde art.
New York City in the late 1970s. Underground filmmakers collaborated with experimental musicians and vanguard performance artists, all on a shoestring budget, to create the most daring work of their generation. In stark contrast to the poverty and crime that seemed rampant in the economically struggling city, a community of aggressive, confrontational, vibrant artists flourished: hole-in-the-wall screening rooms abounded, manifestos circulated, and Jim Jarmusch, Nick Zedd, and Amos Poe debuted early works to an audience of their peers. These short-lived but profoundly influential movements dubbed themselves "No Wave Cinema" and "Cinema of Transgression."
Director Celine Danhier brings energy and style to her encyclopedic documentary on the figures and history of this rich but gritty era.
Céline Danhier made her transition into film after receiving a master's degree in law from the Sorbonne. Danhier became involved in producing while working at Paris-based independent production house Les Enragés. She was a member of avant-garde theater group La Compagnie Vapeur and founded a DJ collective, for which she also made her own experimental short films. After moving from her native France to New York in 2006, Danhier moved between fashion and film. Blank City is her feature directorial debut.