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NOVEMBER 7

Julian Schnabel’s Jean Michel Basquiat biopic contains much to annoy friends of its subject, the graffitist-turned-painter, and enemies of its writer/director (left), the painter-turned-recording-artist and now filmmaker. Like I Shot Andy Warhol, Basquiat has a cipher at its center, and depends significantly on its colorful supporting characters to sustain interest. The young artist (Jeffrey Wright, right) is presented as an unknowable mystery, a notion which is at best lazy and at worst racist condescension. The film is also exceptionally self-serving: It features a benign, happily adjusted painting superstar (Gary Oldman), who is Basquiat’s indulgent pal and an affectionate portrait of the director himself. Still, the film is colorful, and makes the money-glutted New York art world of the mid-’80s seem as freewheeling (and as mythic) as the swinging London of A Hard Day’s Night. With Benicio Del Toro, Claire Forlani, Michael Wincott, Dennis Hopper, Elina Lowensohn, Parker Posey, Paul Bartel, and David Bowie, whose Andy Warhol is not literally convincing but incarnates the spirit of the pop icon’s knowing gamesmanship. Schnabel screens and discusses his film and talks about his other careers at 7 p.m. at Cineplex Odeon West End, 23rd & L Sts. NW. $16. For reservations call (202) 639-1770. (Mark Jenkins)