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SFFILM Festival

Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat

Directed by Sara Driver

USA | 78

8 Apr
Sun, Apr 8, 2018 at 7:30 pm PT


New York City in the 1970s was fractured, dynamic, and the perfect time and place for prolific graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat to begin his famous SAMO tags around the city. Chronicling his life up until he sells his first painting, filmmaker Sara Driver interviews close friends, lovers, and collaborators to present a fresh and vibrant look at the young artist who was a reflection of his time and the city that he grew up in.

“One of the most transporting depictions of the Downtown New York scene (in a field crowded with docs, memoirs, and fictions—some by artists who weren’t alive at the time), Sara Driver’s Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat more than does justice to its acknowledged subject, partly by refusing to divorce him from his context. Conveying his personal magnetism, eccentricity, and nonstop creativity without romanticizing him, the doc also serves as another chapter in the ongoing effort to rescue Basquiat from his own hype.” – John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

“There’s a wandering element to Driver’s narrative. This isn’t surprising, coming from a filmmaker who has collaborated on similarly laconic Jarmusch work like Stranger than Paradise and Permanent Vacation… The best elements of Driver’s movie illustrate how these artists located the beauty in that ruin and made a great and turbulent racket in the quiet.” – Chris Barsanti, The Playlist

Director Sara Driver

Sara Driver made her directing debut with You Are Not I (1983), followed by her first feature, Sleepwalk (1986), and When Pigs Fly (1993). She describes the circumstances that led her to make Boom for Real: “Right after Sandy hit New York … I went to my friend Alexis Adler’s house … We all knew she had lived with Jean-Michel … She had forgotten that she had put away in a storage facility 60 of his works and notebooks. She also had a container full of clothing he had painted on … we were drinking tea and she pulled everything out and she showed me and she showed me about 100 photographs she had taken of him as a teenager. That’s what instigated the film. When I saw what she had, I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is a window into him and his forming as an artist and also into the city of New York at that time.’” (FilmStruck)

Film Details

Language English

Year 2017

Runtime 78

Country USA

Director Sara Driver

Producer Rachel Dengiz, Sara Driver

Editor Adam Kurnitz

Cinematographer Adam Benn

Music Anthony Roman