BLANK CITY (Celine Danhier) Rating: NNNN
Celine Danhier's vivid documentary recreates the dangerous energy of New York City in the late 70s and early 80s, when social and cultural conditions combined to create a perfect storm of punk-rock creativity, and a handful of like-minded filmmakers working in tenements and lofts in Lower Manhattan invented the Cinema of Transgression.
Danhier constructs her story as an oral history, weaving interviews with virtually everyone who was around at the time over archival footage and clips from the dozens of outré shorts and features produced during the period.
Filmmakers like Amos Poe, Richard Kern, Scott B., Eric Mitchell and Jim Jarmusch offer tales of the squalid conditions in which the work was made, while actors Steve Buscemi, John Lurie, Debbie Harry, Ann Magnuson and Lydia Lunch seem quietly amazed that anyone's still talking about the little art projects they made three decades ago. But that's part of the charm.