71 mins
7.8 / 10 (614)


Downtown 81 follows Jean-Michel Basquiat, then a 19 year-old starving artist, who must raise money to reclaim the apartment from which he has been evicted. Hoping to sell a painting, he wanders the downtown streets, encountering painters, models, junkies, graffiti artists, and musicians.

MUBI's take

After 20 years in production limbo, Edo Bertoglio’s percussive No Wave time capsule uncorks to reveal a scene still fizzing with urgency. As Jean-Michel Basquiat weaves his way through the Lower East Side rubble, legends are made as hearts are broken, yet the city still throbs like an exposed vein.

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