Dotty, unvarnished and unwashed, Jenner Furst and Daniel B. Levin’s “Dirty Old Town” (2010) is a fugue-cum-fantasia set in Billy’s Antiques and Props, one of the last remaining bastions of ruffian funk in the Bowery area of downtown Manhattan. Aggressive music, in-your-face performances and a general air of malaise and malodorousness mark the sketch-style assembly, which has garnered favorable remarks from local denizens Jim Jarmusch and Abel Ferrara, who notably said “This movie is fucking real.” Sadly, so is the enormous, whitewashed Whole Foods just up the block. Coincidentally, the tent city that was Billy’s closed on January 1; a new brick building will take its place. With William Leroy, Janell Shirtcliff, Ashley Graham, Scott Dillin, Nicholas De Cegli, Paul Sevigny. Music by Brian Jonestown Massacre, Elvis Perkins in Dearland and Slowdance. 73m. (Ray Pride)
“Dirty Old Town” plays Friday and Saturday at Facets.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published soon. Previews of the project are on Twitter and on Instagram as Ghost Signs Chicago. More photography on Instagram.