Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

It was the find of the film festival for me (granted this year I only booked in to see two films). There is usually one or two. You can have expectations that might not be met, but on some films you just have no idea and you come away just happy that you were fortunate to see it.

Moments of genius in action and candid honesty are what you’ll find in the film Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child. Film maker Tamra Davis, who was also a friend of the artist, has pulled out old footage she shot, including an interview with the late Jean-Michel himself and newer interviews with his friends and colleagues as they recollect his life and what made him special.

Documenting his time of living one day to the next as an artist on the streets who built solid cred with his graffiti poetry as Samo (Same-o) and then following his dramatic rise into the art elite, you’re treated to scenes of Jean-Michel actually working on some of his paintings. Frantically keeping up pace of a hectic art schedule, all the while consuming simultaneously books, TV and music.

What I found best about the movie, is while I knew the works and the story of the artist, seeing how the pieces were made, and who Jean-Michel was, as an artist, and what he meant to other people made it an thoroughly enjoyable and engaging film. From old friends recollecting parties and going out dancing with him, to art dealers talking about his success in the art world, you truly get more of the personal touch.

The film was always going to have a sad ending, you go in with that knowledge, but you come out with a better understanding of Jean-Michel himself and completely awe struck by his incredible talent. If there is a screening near you, and you like art or Basquiat in anyway, then do not miss this film. It’s awesome.

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