The Decline of Western Civilization Part I

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Part of Loft Staff Selects, a monthly series showcasing film favorites chosen by our amazing Loft Cinema staff! This month’s Loft Staff Selects film was chosen by Ray Borboa, Assistant Manager!

“An invaluable music doc … people talk about how dangerous American punk was in the early Reagan era. Watch this, and you’ll know why.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone

Long before she achieved mainstream success with Wayne’s World, filmmaker Penelope Spheeris made her mark with the first of three now-iconic documentaries that took viewers deep inside the early ‘80s punk rock subculture. In The Decline of Western Civilization Part I, Spheeris offers up a riveting, unflinching portrait of L.A.’s infamous Reagan-era punk scene, juxtaposing blistering, outrageous live performances from legendary bands like X, Black Flag, Fear and Circle Jerks with sometimes disturbing offstage moments involving band members and fans. Though the film ultimately celebrates the visionary artists who created the music, Spheeris also takes a critical look at the dark and violent undercurrents which frequently pop up at the raucous shows, creating a compelling statement on one of the most significant musical movements of the 20th century. (Dir. by Penelope Spheeris, 1981, USA, 100 mins., Not Rated)