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» iRewind Talk » Movies » « 80's Movies » Smithereens (1982)

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Author Topic: Smithereens (1982)
Johnny Roarke is reckless
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,Filmmaker Susan Seidelman rocked the movie industry with this daring and quirky story of Wren,
a self-promoting Jersey girl desperate to break into the downtown Manhattan music scene.
But with no money and no talent, she bounces between a nice guy artist who lives in his van
and an arrogant musician (played by punk icon Richard Hell) who lives off of anyone who will let him.'

,Smithereens remains a remarkable time-capsule of the early 80's East Village scene and made history
as the first American independent film invited to compete for the Golden Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival.'

(synopsis taken from the dvd cover)

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I thought this was going to be a comedy, but i couldn't have been more wrong.
This actually is more a depressing character study of several low-lifes trying about anything
to get by on the not-so-pretty side of New York circa 1982.

The DVD Delirium book said the following about Smithereens :

,A perfect time capsule that still resonates today, Smithereens marked the directorial debut of
Susan Seidelman (Desperately Seeking Susan). Her canny ability to tap into pop-culture and the
New York sensibility is already fully formed here; with its flaky, flawed, fashionable heroine
and tender-hearted hero, this is a clear dry-run for Desperately Seeking Susan and manages to turn
all the dyed hair, striped shirts, checkered mini-skirts, and dingy street settings into an
otherworldly snapshot of a culture teetering at the edge of oblivion. Though filled with funny and
sweet moments, Smithereens doesn't shy away from the uglier side of young punk life in the early 80s
as its heroine exists to cash in on the people around her from the opening frame to the last.
Along with Liquid Sky and Basket Case, this is one of the finest slice-of-life looks at New York's
80s underbelly and a fun ride showing how club music flourished before MTV took the whole thing
over.'

Well, that about sums it up pretty accurately.

For full impact, make it a double-feature with Suburbia (1983, which covers much of the same grounds
and remarkably was also directed by a woman).
But be prepared to feel pretty depressed afterwards : These are hard-hitting, gritty social-drama's !
And if you really wanna go all the way, add Germany's Christiane F, Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhoff Zoo (1981)
to the other two and make it a triple-feature.
(although the emphasis in Christiane F is more on the drug culture, it still makes for a very interesting
comparison between the underground sub-cultures happening in Europe and the US during the early 80s).

Smithereens is available on dvd from Blue Underground on a region-free US disc, as well as
a UK release from Metrodome.

See it.. but be prepared !

[ 26. April 2012, 09:04: Message edited by: Johnny Roarke is reckless ]

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aTomiK
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Sounds interesting!
I haven´t seen any of the films you mentioned but i own Christiane F and remember that my bro has Suburbia.
So i´ll try to get Smithereens and check out the triple feature sometime in the future.

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Johnny Roarke is reckless
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aTomiK,

both the Smithereens disc (the Blue Underground one) as well as Suburbia are well worth the purchase.
Both feature an interesting collection of bonus materials.

Smithereens : audio commentary, a fun featurette called Desperately Seeking Susan and Richard
featuring lead actress Susan Berman and Richard Hell, poster and still galleries, and the trailer.

Suburbia was released several times on dvd in the US, but the one to get is definitely the one
that is released in Roger Corman's Cult Classics Collection by Shout Factory. It features a beautifully
restored widescreen transfer and 2 commentary tracks.. one from the older dvd release and a new one
exclusive to the Shout Factory disc.

Christiane F is by far the most depressing and realistic of the three movies..

so proceed with caution ! [Big Grin]

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Helen_S
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quote:
I thought this was going to be a comedy, but i couldn't have been more wrong.
This actually is more a depressing character study of several low-lifes trying about anything
to get by on the not-so-pretty side of New York circa 1982.

Sounds great [Big Grin]
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aTomiK
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Just ordered the UK dvd.
Don´t know if it includes any extra material but it was very cheap.

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Johnny Roarke is reckless
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I haven't seen the British disc, so i can't comment on the quality or the extra's.
Metrodome usually is a good label though, so i'm sure it'll be its money's worth. [Smile]

All i could find was the aspect ratio of the British disc, which is a 1.78 anamorphic widescreen transfer.
So, my guess is that it'll be the same transfer as used for the Blue Underground disc.

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