Directed by French newcomer Céline Danhier, BLANK CITY weaves together an oral history of the “No Wave Cinema” and “Cinema of Transgression” movements through compelling interviews with the luminaries who began it all. Featured players include acclaimed directors Jim Jarmusch and John Waters, actor-writer-director Steve Buscemi, Blondie’s Debbie Harry, hip-hop legend Fab 5 Freddy, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, photographer Richard Kern as well as Amos Poe, James Nares, Eric Mitchell, Susan Seidelman, Beth B, Scott B, Charlie Ahearn and Nick Zedd. Fittingly, the soundtrack includes: Patti Smith, Television, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, The Contortions, The Bush Tetras, Sonic Youth and many more.
Made on shoestring budgets in collaboration with the pioneering musicians, visual artists, performers, and derelicts that ruled Downtown, the films surveyed in BLANK CITY are fitting documents of an exhilarating and unique cultural moment. This same legendary-but-fleeting period likewise birthed punk rock, hip-hop and Madonna, and brought New York City to the forefront of the international art world. Unlike the revered musical revolution of this era, this epoch of underground film has never before been chronicled.
BLANK CITY is a love letter to New York, a cultural portrait of Manhattan in the days before Reagan, big money, and gentrification forever altered the fabric of the city. Though a look back, the heart of BLANK CITY does not live in the past. In this new age of digital democracy, the maverick spirit of the New York Underground has risen again in emerging creative communities worldwide. The Do-It-Yourself ethos, audacious storytelling, and sense of urgency guiding "No Wave" and the "Cinema of Transgression" are more relevant and inspiring than ever.