Fear of Fear

Fear of Fear

Nick Pinkerton on Roberto Minervini’s What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? (2018)

PRINT September 1996

Basquiat

David Rimanelli

WELL, IT’S REALLY not that bad.

That was my gut reaction to a screening of artist Julian Schnabel’s directorial debut. Previous ’80s-artist-becomes-filmmaker vehicles (David Salle’s Search and Destroy, Robert Longo’s Johnny Mnemonic) had been poor precedents at best, and long delays in scheduling the screening had led me and others to speculate that the film’s distributor, Miramax, had gotten cold feet; but I left Basquiat (a flat-footed retitling of Schnabel’s original Build a Fort, Set It on Fire) with a peculiar sense of pleasure and/or relief. The ordinary expectations of schadenfreude had