Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child
Director: Tamra Davis

USA, documentary, 88 min., 2010, lithuanian subtitles
Documentary film “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child” is a tribute to one of the most famous American artists. He became notorious for his graffiti work, which covered the walls of New York City in the 1970s. In 1981, he put paint on canvas for the first time, and by 1983 he was an artist with “rock star status.” He achieved critical and commercial success, though as a black artist, he was constantly confronted by racism. The artist was 25 years old at the height of his career, but his heroin addiction worsened, and he died of an overdose in 1988 at the age of 27. With compassion and psychological insight, director and painter’s friend Tamra Davis details the mysteries that surround this charismatic young man, an artist of enormous talent. Centred on a rare interview that Tamra Davis shot with Basquiat over twenty years ago, this definitive documentary chronicles the meteoric rise and fall of the young artist whose canvases sell for more than a million dollars today. The film features unseen archival footage and interviews with American art celebrities, including the painter Julian Schnabel and art dealer Larry Gagosian, among many others.

About the director:
Tamra Davis (born 1962) is an American film, television and music video director and cinematographer. She is known for directing comedies, among them “CB4” (1993), “Billy Madison” (1995) and “Crossroads” (2002), television shows such as “My Name Is Earl” and “Grey’s Anatomy”, music videos for “Depeche Mode”, “Sonic Youth”, “Beastie Boys” and others. In 2006 she released her first short documentary “A Conversation with Basquiat” featuring an artist and her close friend Jean-Michel Basquiat, filmed near the end of his life. Four years later this short film developed into the full-length documentary “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child”. The film gained both critics’ and viewers’ acclaim worldwide and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in the documentary category.

Section: All the muses

Dir. of Photography: Tamra Davis, Harry Geller, David Koh

Music: J. Ralph, Mike D.