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BAMcinématek and Cinema Conservancy present this six week, 60+ film series spotlighting the independent films of the neglected decade between the golden age of 70s New Hollywood and the indie boom of the 90s. Exploring the textures of regional America and uncovering alternative histories to the supposed monoculture of the Reagan years, independent filmmakers of the 1980s offered up an edgy alternative to overblown Hollywood blockbusters and the straight-laced conservatism of the era.
This Hollywood satire takes aim at the industry’s depictions of African Americans.
Jim Jarmusch’s deader-than-deadpan comedy is arguably the quintessential 80s indie film.
This outrageous documentary chronicles the heavy metal scene of the late 80s.
This brilliantly inventive silent comedy is a modern day homage to Chaplin’s The Kid.
A filmmaker roams the South looking for love in this delightfully offbeat documentary.
A photographer cracks up in this edgy psychodrama.
This fascinating documentary follows two twin girls who developed their own language.
A female miner contends with workplace sexism in this rarely seen, naturalistic drama.
Blank pays tribute to the spirit and creativity of women with wide-set incisors and polka.
This subtly surreal neo-noir is part enigmatic thriller, part dark comic fantasia.
A teenager has a life-altering encounter with a disturbing stranger in this dark drama.
John Hughes meets David Lynch in this disturbing portrait of teenage alienation.
Freddy Krueger clawed his way into our collective nightmares with this horror milestone.
A married couple experience a reawakening on a summer idyll in upstate New York.
Gus Van Sant’s ravishing, dreamlike feature debut is a touchstone of New Queer Cinema.
This invaluable time capsule captures the vibrant community of 1980s South Williamsburg.
Errol Morris’ landmark documentary examines the case of a man wrongly convicted of murder.
This stirring historical saga dramatizes a 1920 coal miners’ strike in West Virginia.
This offbeat quasi-documentary is a portrait of a dying Pennsylvania steel town.
Edward James Olmos stars as an outlaw in this complex revisionist Western.
This skin-crawlingly disturbing shocker is one of the most controversial films of the 80s.
Grindhouse auteur William Lustig serves up a crazily violent, pure-pulp thriller.
Punk icon Richard Hell stars in this grimy glimpse of New York’s punk underground.
A Harlem basketball coach struggles with heroin addiction in this gritty urban drama.
Neglected auteur Jon Jost helmed this quietly intense work of social realism.
Steve Buscemi co-stars in this witty snapshot of New York’s 1980s gay community.
This raucous anti-romance won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1989 Sundance Film Festival.
Penny Allen’s (Property) 1981 thriller about Oregon winemakers who start growing pot.
Charles Burnett wrote and shot this heartrending portrait of an African-American family.
George Romero’s provocative finale to his groundbreaking Living Dead trilogy.
This vérité 1983 documentary is a sobering depiction of a group of high school seniors.
The Coen brothers’ stylish Texas-set pulp thriller starring Frances McDormand and Dan Hedaya.
Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, and Dennis Hopper star in David Lynch’s masterpiece.
Spalding Gray weaves a spellbinding tale in this one-man show directed by Jonathan Demme.
Bruce Weber’s Oscar-nominated documentary of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker.
Tenant faces off against landlord in this ultra-rare throwback to the 1980s East Village.
Noir meets No Wave in this paranoid thriller starring cult icon Lydia Lunch.
A heartrending, humanistic look at the immigrant experience.
Photographer Danny Lyon helmed this startlingly candid portrait of a New Mexico convict.
This taut ecological thriller is a lost gem of regional independent filmmaking.
Charles Burnett’s long-unseen follow-up to Killer of Sheep was this poignant neorealist drama.
Steven Soderbergh’s breakout hit paved the way for the indie boom of the 1990s.
This cult classic mockumentary chronicles the implosion of “one of England's loudest bands.”
Hal Hartley’s deadpan debut feature about an apocalypse-obsessed Long Island teen.
A mute rape victim wages war on Manhattan’s male population in Abel Ferrara’s classic.
Animation visionary Faith Hubley explores the history of mankind.
Expat leftist filmmaker Robert Kramer’s epic road trip mosaic of 1980s America.
Wayne Wang’s arthouse sleeper hit study of Chinese-American identity.
Su Friedrich’s experimental meditation on memory, history, and the mother-daughter bond.
Ethiopian-American filmmaker Haile Gerima examines the black Vietnam vet experience.
Sleaze-punk auteur Jon Moritsugu serves up a no-budget blast of rock ‘n roll and raw meat.
This riveting Oscar-nominated doc deconstructs the murder of a Chinese-American engineer.
Bruce Campbell stars in Sam Raimi’s legendary low-budget occult splatterfest.
This seminal hip-hop film captures the scene’s music and street art during its inception.
Michael Moore’s first film is a satirical and impassioned look at the decline of Flint.
Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory go head to head in Louis Malle’s cinematic experiment.
Spike Lee’s watershed 1986 debut feature addressing black female sexuality.
Two films by African-American film pioneer St. Claire Bourne.
Director Bill Gunn and writer Ishmael Reed teamed up for this satirical soap opera.
This uplifting documentary is a joyous look at American gospel music.
This razor-sharp buddy comedy delivers a swift takedown of macho posturing.
Sara Driver’s trancelike puzzle film is a surrealist’s delight.
Punk filmmaker Amos Poe directs this neon-lit, expressionistic gangster saga.
This Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner chronicles the exploits of con man Douglas Street.