New York Stories
Directed by Susan Seidelman • 1982 • United States
Susan Seidelman established her distinctive vision of New York City with this debut feature, the lo-fi original for her vibrant portraits of women reinventing themselves. After escaping New Jersey, the quintessentially punk Wren (Susan Berman)—a spark plug in fishnets—moves to the city with the mission of becoming famous. When not pasting up self-promotional flyers or hanging at the Peppermint Lounge, she’s getting involved with Paul (Brad Rinn), the nicest guy to ever live in a van next to the highway, and Eric (Richard Hell), an aloof rocker. Shot on 16 mm film that captures the grit and glam of downtown in the 1980s, with an alternately moody and frenetic soundtrack by the Feelies and others, SMITHEREENS—the first American independent film to compete for the Palme d’Or—is an unfaded snapshot of a bygone era.
Up Next in New York Stories
Directed by Bette Gordon • 1983 • United States
Starring Sandy McLeod, Will Patton, Richard M. Davidson
The provocative, sexually charged tale of a woman’s journey of self-discovery, Bette Gordon’s independent landmark offers a bold challenge to conventional notions of feminism and pornography. ...
Stranger Than Paradise
Directed by Jim Jarmusch • 1984 • United States, Germany
Starring John Lurie, Richard Edson, Eszter Balint
With this breakout film, Jim Jarmusch established himself as one of the most exciting voices in the burgeoning independent-film scene, a road-movie poet with an affinity for Americana at it...
Directed by Tony Bill • 1987 • United States
Tony Bill's ensemble piece, featuring an extraordinary cast (Jodie Foster, John Turturro, Tim Robbins), is an urban romance set against the youthful idealism and the matter-of-fact violence of a working-class Bronx neighborhood in the early '60s. With...