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

New York City in the 1970s was fractured, dynamic, and the perfect time and place for prolific graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat to begin his famous SAMO tags around the city. Chronicling his life up to the time he sold his first painting, filmmaker Sara Driver interviews close friends, lovers, and collaborators to present a fresh and vibrant look at the young artist who was a reflection of his time and the city where he grew up.

“One of the most transporting depictions of the Downtown New York scene (in a field crowded with docs, memoirs, and fictions—some by artists who weren’t alive at the time), Sara Driver’s Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat more than does justice to its acknowledged subject, partly by refusing to divorce him from his context. Conveying his personal magnetism, eccentricity, and nonstop creativity without romanticizing him, the doc also serves as another chapter in the ongoing effort to rescue Basquiat from his own hype.”—John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

“There’s a wandering element to Driver’s narrative. This isn’t surprising, coming from a filmmaker who has collaborated on similarly laconic Jarmusch work like Stranger Than Paradise and Permanent Vacation. . . . The best elements of Driver’s movie illustrate how these artists located the beauty in that ruin and made a great and turbulent racket in the quiet.”—Chris Barsanti, The Playlist

  • Adam Benn
Print Info
  • B&W/Color
  • DCP
  • 78 mins