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American Punk

After the initial success of punk bands such as the Clash, the Sex Pistols, and the Ramones in the late 1970s, punk culture went underground. The gritty style and often offensive lyrics of most punk music just did not possess the mass appeal needed for major label endorsement. Free to do whatever they wanted, bands began putting out their own records and starting their own labels, and the "Do It Yourself" ethos became the backbone of punk culture.

What filmmaking took from punk was both its eagerness to reject convention and its DIY attitude. Our film series highlights North American films, dating from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, that feature punk music, punk performers and above all, punk aesthetics – particularly those that have been shown rarely, if ever, in the area.

Ranging in dates from the late 1970s through the early 1990s, the films are varied in genre and budget. While none of the films are lavish productions by any stretch, they do cover the wide domain of amateur (Desperate Teenage Lovedolls), indie feature (Border Radio, Times Square, Suburbia, No Skin Off My Ass) and verité documentary (The Decline Of Western Civilization, The Blank Generation and D.O.A.: A Right of Passage). Most made under desperate, comic or chaotic circumstances, they all share the punk spirit in both their creation and their content. – David Pendleton

Current and upcoming programs