DOCFEST: THE BLANK GENERATION

SHOWTIMES / BUY TICKETS
First show: June 07

Director:    Amos Poe
Running Time:    84
Country:    USA
Year of Release:    1976

Blondie CBGB.jpg

Shot and directed by frequent Lunch and Patti Smith collaborator Ivan Kraland pioneering indie filmmaker Amos Poe, this documentary features Smith, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, Television, The Heartbreakers, Wayne/Jayne County, and pretty much everyone else on the CBGB’s scene at the time. The Austin Film Society sums it up well. Kral and Poe’s Blank Generation exemplified a punkish attitude toward film structure with handheld zooms, angled compositions, floodlight lighting, extreme close-ups, elliptical editing, flash pans, and a general in-your-face and “up-yours” stance.

Sound and image purposely do not synch. In many cases music and image were recorded on separate nights—more economical because of the high cost of raw film stock with sound, but also an aesthetic nod to Jean-Luc Godard who had slashed the umbilical cord uniting sound and image. Out of the French New Wave came the New York No Wave.

The influence is evident, though it’s not particularly useful context. Really, all you need to know is contained within the frame: in the lilting rasp of Patti Smith’s “Gloria,” in close-up shots of Joey Ramone’s crotch and filthy sneakers, in the youthful David Byrne’s jangly acoustic guitar and the sleazy lounge-punk of Television’s tribute to Iggy Pop, “Little Johnny Jewel.” Of course later No Wave stalwarts like Teenage Jesus & The Jerks, Swans, Sonic Youth, John Zorn, DNA, and Mars don’t appear—but some get their due elsewhere. Blank Generation is a truly incredible historical document that deserves repeated viewing.

Screens with SOUTHBAY HARDCORE, featuring local 25 year music scene vets Sad Boy Sinister.

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DOCFEST: THE BLANK GENERATION: Upcoming Showtimes