Our Saturday Matinée movie this week is Basquiat, starring Jeffrey Wright as Basquiat and David Bowie as Andy Warhol.
I recommend you visit the Basquiat: Boom for Real exhibition at the Barbican. I went last month and it broadened my mind to his life and work. Downtown 81 wasn’t available online for this week’s Saturday Matinée movie but Julian Schnabel’s Basquiat was. The film starred a slew of A-listers including David Bowie, Gary Oldman (as Julian Schnabel himself, under the guise of Albert Milo), Christopher Walken and Courtney Love.
The film tells the story of Basquiat’s life, from his days as SAMO© to his relationship with Andy Warhol and commercial fame. For Jeffrey Wright, it was his first lead film role and his portrayal of the neo-expressionist painter received critical acclaim. However, he didn’t share the same feelings towards the final cut:
“I think my performance was appropriated, literally, and the way I was edited was appropriated in the same way his [Basquiat’s] story has been appropriated and that he was appropriated when he was alive. […] Julian made him out to be too docile and too much of a victim and too passive and not as dangerous as he really was. It’s about containing Basquiat. It’s about aggrandizing himself through Basquiat’s memory.” – (Hoban, 2004)
We’ll let you be the judge. Stream it below.