Blank City Reviews

  • Somehow Ms. Danhier manages to conjure a glorious and grungy bygone past without fetishizing it as a golden age.

    A.O. Scott — New York Times

  • The biggest shortcoming of "Blank City" is that, despite its vivid portrait of the time period, we never get much sense of what the actual movies are like.

    Michael O'Sullivan — Washington Post

  • "Blank City'' can't help but feel a little unfocused ... and it definitely isn't sure where to call it quits, but it's there for the moments that matter.

    Ty Burr — Boston Globe

  • Nothing in this assemblage of clips will convince anyone not already sold on the enduring artistic importance of these movements beyond the world bounded by 14th Street and the Holland Tunnel.

    Nick Pinkerton — Village Voice

  • Anyone who bemoans the gentrification of New York will revel in Celine Danhier's love letter to a long-ago city, back in the late '70s.

    Elizabeth Weitzman — New York Daily News

  • This doc is interesting and worthy, but it is unlikely to send you seeking most of the films sampled in it. That was then, this is now, and it was fun while it lasted.

    Roger Ebert — Chicago Sun-Times

  • Celine Danhier combines talking heads with a flood of Super-8 and 16-millimeter film clips to create this entertaining 2010 documentary about the explosion of punk energy that propelled New York City's art, music, and cinema underground.

    J. R. Jones — Chicago Reader

  • The real reason to see Blank City is to catch snatches of the now-decades-old films - priceless DIY numbers that capture all the wild energy, humor, and rage of, if not a more innocent time, then certainly a cooler one.

    Steven Rea — Philadelphia Inquirer

  • Often feels as inchoate as the phenomenon under discussion.

    Ronnie Scheib — Variety

  • Though the area was filled with crime, drugs and derelict buildings, [the Lower East Side] nurtured a vibrant underground film scene.

    V.A. Musetto — New York Post

  • As maddeningly undisciplined as the movie community she's exploring, but it still stands as a worthy historical document of NYC's recent past and the birth of a new way of making films.

    Linda Barnard — Toronto Star

  • As well as unearthing flavourful clips from films only determined cineastes have seen (War Is Menstrual Envy, You Killed Me First), French filmmaker Celine Danhier has reassembled many of the era's crucial players.

    Stephen Cole — Globe and Mail

  • A well-researched celebration of No Wave cinema in all its grainy Super-8 glory.

    Sheri Linden — Hollywood Reporter

  • Above all, the film is a poignant valentine to an era when artists could afford to live and work on the island of Manhattan, and the cultural ferment goosed by their low-rent lifestyle.

    Sam Adams — Los Angeles Times

  • The doc flags toward the end, but it remains an absorbing snapshot of a daring time.

    Gary Goldstein — Los Angeles Times

  • The films emerge as fascinating period pieces filled with too-cool-for-school 70s types; but the most potent figure in the film is New York itself, decrepit but glowering angrily in the background.

    Peter Bradshaw

  • A dusty feature-length slideshow presented by aging hipsters.

    Adam Woodward — Little White Lies

  • The film works best as a love letter to a grubbier, poorer era in Manhattan history.

    Matt Chapman — Total Film

  • There's no denying that the decaying New York of the late-'70s/early-'80s was a fascinating proving ground for starving artists. And Blank City is great arty eye candy. But you'll appreciate it best if the skinny-tie years were indeed your glory days.

    Jim Slotek — Jam! Movies

  • Celine Danhier's vivid documentary recreates the dangerous energy of New York City in the late 70s and early 80s.

    Norman Wilner — NOW Toronto

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