Rage to riches

Rage To Riches is an animated film about contemporary artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, which debuted on BBC Two in September 2021. The film was directed and produced by David Shulman. The movie won the prestigious Huw Wheldon Prize for Specialist factual at the 2021 British Academy Television Awards. This is the second time that Shulman and co-writer Max Lewis are honored with this prestigious award. The film screened throughout the year as it became one of the most popular features at the festival.

While the film does not offer many characters it is filled with rich character development, witty dialogue, and an emotional core. At the outset we meet Remy, a contemporary artist living in poverty who is forced to leave his suburban comfort to attend the opening of a contemporary art gallery. There he becomes involved with fellow artists and struggles to find a common ground. Along the way other players join the fight for the future of the art world such as Paul Gauguin and Guy Del Carmen. As a director and screenwriter David Seidler does an exceptional job of weaving all these characters together so that the viewer can begin to see the struggles and achievements of each individual artist.

Throughout the film you will also meet a number of characters, one of which is Remy's friend, Jeanine (Ann-Margret). She is the art dealer who first introduced Jean-Michel to the art world. While struggling to make ends meet Jeanine sees her chance for financial freedom come to nothing when a meeting with her idol and fellow dealer, Basquiat (David Thewlis). When the couple comes to an agreement to pursue their different goals the drama plays out on the streets of Paris. One of the most powerful scenes is when Jeanine is visiting the homeless people in the area where she realizes that not only did she become rich but the people she helped have become millionaires too. This film offers a look into the lives of the rich and famous, providing a glimpse of life that few people ever get to experience firsthand.

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