Combustible Celluloid
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With: Carole Bouquet, Richard Hell, Ulli Lommel, Suzanna Love, Howard Grant, Ben Weiner, Andy Warhol, Robert Madero, Bill Milling, David Pinnock, Frank J. Butler, Ivan Julian, Robert Quine, Marky Ramone, Walter Steading
Written by: Richard Hell, Ulli Lommel, Bob Madero
Directed by: Ulli Lommel
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 79
Date: 10/01/1980

Blank Generation (1980)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Betrayal Takes Two

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The great punk rocker Richard Hell stars in this fascinating, meandering story of a sullen New York musician, Billy, and his strange, hot-and-cold romance with a beautiful French TV interviewer. Hell sings "Blank Generation," "Love Comes in Spurts," "New Pleasure" and other classics, but also sulks, walks off stage during shows and signs contracts without reading them. He and the gorgeous Nada (Carole Bouquet) get into several ridiculous fights, but always make up. Meanwhile, a German interviewer, Hoffritz (Ulli Lommel, who also directed) -- a former friend (lover?) of Nada's -- turns up in New York to interview Andy Warhol, but keeps getting blown off. Finally Warhol appears and says some cryptic things. Director Lommel was a former actor in Fassbinder's films and an eventual maker of low-budget crime and horror movies like The Boogeyman (1980), Zombie Nation (2004) and Zodiac Killer (2005); he gets a nice taste of the grimy punk rock-era New York City, with lots of footage of CBGB, even if his narrative flow leaves something to be desired. Even so, I found these characters intriguing, and the music is still terrific. MVD released this long-lost movie on DVD, complete with a brand-new, 45-minute video interview with Hell.

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