23 September 2019 The Irish Film & Television Network
Education / Training
Festivals / Markets
Locations Ireland
Post Production
Rep Bodies
Features & Interviews
Production News
Post Production News
VFX News
Animation News
Digital News
Festivals News
Training News
Cast News
Finance News
IFTA Film & Drama Awards
Galway Film Fleadh 2017
List Your Company
Daily News Bulletin
Site Map
Underground New York Film Season at IMMA
23 Aug 2006 :
A season of rarely-seen films from a defining period in the history of American underground cinema opens at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Friday 15 September 2006.

Entitled ‘New York: No Wave Cinema’ the season focuses on the hotbed of talent and creativity that was New York City’s East Village from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s – a period that marked a new era in the relationship between film, art and music. The season includes such seminal films as ‘Rome 78’, ‘Underground USA’, ‘Downtown 81’ and ‘The Blank Generation’ with a special screening of the cult classic network television programme Glenn O’Brien’s ‘TV Party’.

Irish audiences may be particularly interested in several appearances by the American artist David MacDermott, who, as one half of the celebrated art duo MacDermott and MacGough, has been part of the Dublin art scene since 1995. These roles include that of the Roman Emperor Caligula in ‘Rome 78’ (1978), directed by the British painter and musician James Nares, and a German spy in ‘Long Island Four’ (1979) by the Swedish director Anders Grafstrom, based on a real-life World War II story – both of which are given an unmistakeably No Wave treatment.

The season traces the history of No Wave Cinema, beginning in 1975, when Poe and Ivan Kral (guitarist with the Patti Smith Group) set out to direct a 16mm film on the punk scene that became the cult classic, The Blank Generation. With seminal performances by the Ramones, Patti Smith Group, Blondie, Talking Heads and Johnny Thunders, it proved to be an important launching point for the development of the genre. Through films such as Unmade Beds and Rome 78 to The Foreigner and Underground USA audiences can chart the movement’s evolution to the significant changes in the New York art scene from 1981 onwards, when developments in the presentation and promotion of artists and their work eventually led to its demise some three years later.

No Wave Cinema reflected the interests, lifestyles and modest means of its participants. These traits provided a common link between its members and served to differentiate them from nearly everyone else involved in filmmaking in America at that time. As the first generation to have grown up with television, they had a strong desire to tell stories based on real-life issues, which were not being portrayed in mainstream American cinema. In Eric Mitchell’s Underground USA and Glenn O’Brien’s Downtown 81, for example, both depict the downtown scene of New York City with authentic locations (Mudd Club and CBGB’s) and true-to-life characters. Up until this time, the story of this creative hub of activity was for most part only available to its actual participants. For these new young filmmakers the B-movie, the avant garde and the French New Wave were the ideal cinematic forms.

Most of the films also share a distinct appearance and sound, having been shot using Super 8mm sound film, largely for the pragmatic reason that it was cheaper to buy and develop. Many were shown not at organised screenings but in unconventional spaces frequented by their makers and their supporters, such as Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Glenn O Brien, Jim Jarmusch, Vincent Gallo, Jean Michel Basquiat, Lydia Lunch, Eric Mitchell, Amos Poe, David Byrne, Vivienne Dick, Patti Smith, John Lurie, Keith Haring, Kenny Sharf, Arto Lindsay, MacDermott & MacGough, Patty Astor, James Nares, Ivan Kral, and The Ramones.

The season opens on Friday 15 September with Rome 78 and Long Island Four and continues from Thursday to Sunday of each week, in the Lecture Room, until Sunday 1 October – see schedule attached.


A public in-conversation between Glenn O’Brien and David MacDermott takes place on Thursday 14 September at 6.00pm. Booking is essential as space is limited. Please contact the automatic booking line tel: +353-1-612 9948 or email talksandlectures@imma.ie

Admission to all screenings is free.

Free Industry Newsletter
Subscribe to IFTN's industry newsletter - it's free and e-mailed directly to your inbox every week.
Click here to sign up.

 the Website  Directory List  Festivals  Who's Who  Locations  Filmography  News  Crew  Actors

Contact Us | Advertise | Copyright | Terms & Conditions | Security & Privacy | RSS Feed | Twitter