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Basquiat DVD

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In his writing and directorial debut, Julian Schnabel's film Basquiat depicts the life of graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, aka SAMO, and the turbulent period from the late 1970s to 1988, as his life was catapulted into fame and notoriety. As Jean-Michel's work gained favourable attention from New York's elite art community, he went from a street punk living in a cardboard box to the first black artist to succeed in the all-white dominated art world. Tony Award-winning actor Jeffrey Wright does a brilliant job portraying a man tortured by self-doubt and thoughts of suicide, struggling to survive and be acknowledged as an artist. The film's use of dream-like imagery and rhythmic pace tells the story from the perspective of Jean-Michel's eyes as he manages to "float" through relationships and gallery showings,until his impending death in 1988 from a heroin overdose. Brimming with talent, the film also stars David Bowie as pop-artist Andy Warhol, Michael Wincott as poet Rene Ricard and many others, including Gary Oldman, Benicio del Toro, Dennis Hopper and Courtney Love. --Michele Goodson

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