Smithereens (1982)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB. 

USA, 1982.  Domestic Productions.  Story by Susan Seidelman, , Screenplay by Ron Nyswaner, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by Susan Seidelman.  

Susan Seidelman will forever be remembered for the indelible way in which she captured a New York that no longer exists in two eighties films, this one and Desperately Seeking Susan (which is admittedly far superior). Here,  plays an aimless woman with low moral regard who wanders the downtown streets of the Big Apple manipulating her way through people’s lives while wearing high top sneakers and fishnet stockings. She is emptily pursuing a career in the Music business in the form of a caddish player, while ignoring the attentions of a sweet, handsome young man who recently arrived from Montana and is living in his van. Narratively it’s not the most captivating film you’ve ever seen, but there’s something wonderful about the era that it portrays: the graffiti, the derelict cars and dirty subway trains seem like a beautiful punkish dream to those of us who never had to suffer the ugliness of New York at the time, and the performances have an off-kilter, amateur style that places the film somewhere between Paul Morrissey’s kitschy features and Seidelman’s later, stronger work. Look for a very brief appearance on film by , making his film debut as a prostitute; he would later star in Seidelman-directed pilot for a little television series called Sex And The City.

The Criterion Collection:  #941

Cannes Film Festival:  In Competition

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