Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, Nuart Theatre, Los Angeles

Arthouse Films and Curiously Bright Entertainment present Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, opening August 20, 2010, at Landmark’s Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles for a one-week engagement.

Centered on a rare interview that director and friend Tamra Davis shot with Basquiat over twenty years ago, this definitive documentary chronicles the meteoric rise and fall of the young artist.  In the crime-ridden NYC of the 1970s, he covers the city with the graffiti tag SAMO. In 1981 he puts paint on canvas for the first time, and by 1983 he is an artist with “rock star status.”  He achieves critical and commercial success, though he is constantly confronted by racism from his peers. In 1985 he and Andy Warhol become close friends and painting collaborators, but they part ways and Warhol dies suddenly in 1987. Basquiat’s heroin addiction worsens, and he dies of an overdose in 1988 at the age of 27. The artist was 25 years old at the height of his career, and today his canvases sell for more than a million dollars.  With compassion and psychological insight, Tamra Davis details the mysteries that surround this charismatic young man, an artist of enormous talent whose fortunes mirrored the rollercoaster quality of the downtown scene he seemed to embody.

Featuring interviews with Julian Schnabel, Larry Gagosian, Bruno Bischofberger, Tony Shafrazi, Fab 5 Freddy, Jeffrey Deitch, Glenn O’Brien, Maripol, Kai Eric, Nicholas Taylor, Fred Hoffmann, Michael Holman, Diego Cortez, Annina Nosei, Suzanne Mallouk, Rene Ricard, Kenny Scharf, among many others. Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2010.

Tamra Davis is a film, television and music video director.  Her band videos included diverse bands such as N.W.A, Sonic Youth, Hanson and Tone Loc (her video for “Wild Thing” was one of MTV’s most played videos of the 80’s.)  Her first feature film Guncrazy earned a Golden Globe nomination for star Drew Barrymore.  Other feature films included Billy Madison, CB4 and Half Baked.  She has directed television episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty and My Name Is Earl.

The film’s running time is 94 minutes; and is not rated. Digital images are available at: http://www.filmforum.org/press/radiant/index.html  For other information, please contact Steve Indig at Landmark Theatres San Francisco Office, at 415/352-0832 ext 2, orstevei@landmarktheatres.com.

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT: THE RADIANT CHILD opens Friday, August 20, 2010 at Landmark’s Nuart Theatre, showing through Thursday, August 26 for an exclusive one-week engagement. Showtimes: Fri- Sun at 12:30, 2:50, 5:10, 7:30 & 9:50; Mon- Thu at 5:10, 7:30 & 9:50

Landmark’s Nuart Theatre is at 11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, just west of the 405 Freeway, in West Los Angeles.  Program information: 310-281-8223;

Photo courtesy of William Coupon / CORBIS

Click to view the Nuart/Landmark Theatre site

Eli Consilvio