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Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat 15 rating

The story of how one of the 20th century's most important artists emerged from the post-punk, b-boy and graffiti scenes of late '70s New York.

Documentary 2017 75 mins

Director: Sara Driver


Jean-Michel Basquiat's spectacular rise from unschooled street artist to the toast of New York's art scene was achieved in just a few short years, before his untimely death in 1988. Sarah Driver's documentary explores how Basquiat emerged from a thrillingly vibrant scene in New York's Lower East Side, where graffiti artists, punk bands, DJs and artists intermingled amid a dangerously gritty milieu.

As such, Driver's approach ensures this is not so much of biopic of Basquiat himself, but more a profile of a particular place and a moment in time which allowed great art to thrive. The key protagonists of the era, which include luminaries such Jim Jarmusch and Fab Freddy 5, sketch a fascinating tableau of a forgotten New York City, with Basquiat himself positioned precociously up front and centre.