Trailer for “Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Radiant Child”
If you were monumentally dissatisfied with the Julian Schnabel biographical film about Basquiat, this one may prove to be more satisfying.
This is a documentary film about the late artist by someone who knew Basquiat personally, Tamra Davis. Davis, 48, is a film director noted for music videos for the likes of Depeche Mode, The Beastie Boys, Lemonheads, and Sonic Youth. She’s paid her dues with making the stoner film, Half-Baked, the NWA parody film, CB4, and the Adam Sandler slacker vehicle, Billy Madison.
Before I left New York in 2005, I saw the Brooklyn Museum retrospective on Basquiat’s work. You had to have been there. It was on a Sunday in June. Brooklyn is where Basquiat was born, the son of a Haitian accountant and his Portoriqueña wife; a marriage that didn’t take, except with this child. I went the last day it was showing, and so the place was packed. I had always viewed Basquiat’s work in magazines, so it was the first time ever that I had seen his canvases full length, full sized, with all the voodou. The signs. The black bodies, as bell hooks, states, falling away. To show the spirit, I think, to continue to tell the truth. I was stunned, amazed, enriched, and at the end, grieved. I also saw how coming under the influence of both Andy Warhol and dope seemed to drain the very life out of his art. And I wanted to know why.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Radiant Child was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival last month. It features never-before-seen footage of the artist at work, and his observations about his art, shot two years before his death, and reportedly puts the Schnabel film to even further shame. It was released last week, February 21. Look for it.
PlushSafeHeThink (A Basquiat Resource Website)