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Filmmaker & Artist

NYS Writers Institute, February 5, 2001
7:00 p.m. Commentary after Film screening | Page Hall, 135 Western Ave., Downtown Campus


Julian Schnabel is a visual artist who first achieved prominence as a trendy, jet-setting painter and sculptor during the art-buying frenzy of the 1980s. Schnabel became a leading figure of "neo-expressionism," a movement that rebelled against the cool minimalism of modernist art. Schnabel's social life--his friendships with rock stars, actors and wealthy socialites--attracted as much media attention as his paintings, however. His work appears in private and public collections of the world's leading museums which includes New York's Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Paris's Centre Georges Pompidou, London's Tate Gallery and The National Gallery in Washington, D.C. He recently turned his artistic focus to film writing and directing.


CANCELLED: February 5, 2001 (Monday) at 7:30 p.m.
Changed to February 7, 2001 (Wednesday) at 7:30 p.m.
(American, 1996, 108 minutes, color, 35mm)
Directed by Julian Schnabel
Starring Jeffrey Wright, Michael Wincott, David Bowie, Dennis Hopper

Julian Schnabel makes his directorial debut in this portrayal of the short and tragic life of graffiti artist Jean Michael Basquiat whose work was found all over New York City under the name "SAMO." The film focuses on Basquiat's meteoric rise from a penniless artist to a star within the New York art scene and the exploitative forces that eventually led to his death from a drug overdose.

"We see the groupies and the poseurs, the greedy art dealers, the Eurotrash night owls, and the spoiled ostentatious yuppies who don't know what they're collecting. And we wonder: In a world so false, how could anyone--especially someone who scrawled graffiti and slept in a cardboard box one day, and was hailed as the nation's top black painter the next--hold a sense of proportion?" - Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle


February 6, 2001 (Tuesday) at 7:00 p.m.

(American, 2000, 125 minutes, color, 35mm)
Directed by Julian Schnabel
Written by Julian Schnabel, Cunningham O'Keefe, and Lazaro Gomez Carriles
Starring: Javier Bardem, Olivier Martinez, Andrea DiStefano, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn

Julian Schnabel with Producer Jon KilikJohnny DeppBEFORE NIGHT FALLS is based on the life of Cuban novelist and poet Reinaldo Arenas and features Javier Bardem in the title role. Based on Arenas' best-selling autobiography, the film portrays his childhood of both poverty and freedom in 1940s Cuba, to his persecution by Castro's regime as a political dissident and homosexual, and his life in exile in New York City. BEFORE NIGHT FALLS premiered at the 2000 Venice Film Festival, where it received both the Best Actor and Grand Special Jury Awards.

". . .the film deliciously evokes pre-Castro Cuba as a sensual summer of hot pliable flesh and lapping turquoise waters." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Film director JULIAN SCHNABEL will provide film commentary and answer questions immediately following the screening of BEFORE NIGHT FALLS.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.