Behind the Intimate Biopic of Jean-Michel Basquiat's Early Years
American filmmaker Sara Driver shines a new light on legendary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s in her new documentary, Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Although the artist rose to fame at a young age and was photographed, filmed and interviewed throughout his feted period, Driver takes an unseen look at Basquiat’s life during his formative years when he was a graffiti artist using the pseudonym Samo, living as a nomad in New York sleeping on friend's floors. This biopic is able to document this remarkable time in Basquiat’s life after one of the director’s friends, Alexis Adler, who lived with Jean-Michel from 1979-1980, recently uncovered a collection of drawings, notebooks, and photos of the teen artist.
Driver wastes no time re-counting the biographical details of Jean-Michel’s life, controversies or untimely death at the age of 27, rather, she focuses on the Lower East Side's explosive creative scene specifically in the late 70’s and early 80s, and how this culture shaped the artist’s creative path. Being built on this amazing collection of artifacts, the film’s result is highly personal portrait of the young artist, a young hipster with an immense amount of drive and talent. Growing up in the same subculture as Basquiat, the director, Driver, is able to piece the film together to make a very real and intimate collage of this short period in Manhattan. This biopic does not fail to keep the audience engaged with it’s masterful construction and close concentration on the artist. The film opens in UK’s cinemas on June 22nd.
Words: Paola de Oliveira
Photography: Alexis Adler and Robert Carrithers