The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

Downtown 81

Downtown 81 poster

Revisit 80s Manhattan with Edo Bertoglio’s Downtown 81, a time capsule of the post-punk era featuring none other than Jean Michel Basquiat.

Following a day in the life of the legendary artist, the film sees Basquiat attempt to raise money to reclaim his apartment after being evicted from it. He wanders the streets of downtown, hoping to sell a painting and encountering friends whose lives and performances we peek into. He finally succeeds in selling the painting but receives a check, forcing him to continue wandering across the city as night falls.

A movie that captures one of the most interesting and lively artists of the twentieth century, Downtown 81 is a must-see for fans of new wave art and graffiti.


“For anyone steeped in or curious about the often uncategorizable music made during this period, Downtown 81 is a joyous artifact.” – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter 

“Considering this is the only glimpse one would ever see of Basquiat before he was discovered by Andy Warhol, this film is somewhat of a masterpiece.” – Wilson Morales, BlackFilm.com

Downtown 81
Downtown 81.