Blank Generation

Blank Generation (1980) movie poster

(1980) director Ulli Lommel
viewed: 01/17/11

While it features Richard Hell and the Voidoids in height of their time performances at CBGB’s and snapshots of late 1970’s Manhattan in its rough-and-tumble charm, Blank Generation isn’t entirely worth the effort to sit through.  Co-written by Hell and director Ulli Lommel and Robert Madero, the bulk of the film is a tired, trying love story between Hell’s character Billy and the beautiful French actress Carole Bouquet as Nada.  He’s a sensitive, talented musician with some capricious whims and she’s a French film-maker/interviewer who is even more capricious.

It would be one thing if this was meant to be a sincere story on its own terms, but the film has some “higher” pretensions as well.  Referencing Godard and interviewing Andy Warhol, Nada is usually armed with a film camera, makes statements to Billy in recorded form, and the film features shots of the video in playback on a television.  Self-reflexive?  Yes.  But to what end?

Ultimately, it’s not atrocious.  In fact, no single part of it is super-bad, but it’s tedious and it’s boring, which filming around the punk scene in late 1970’s New York should be anything but.  Well, this is one of the documents of the era which you can glean if you want, but I don’t particularly recommend it.

The Voidoids tunes are pretty awesome though.


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