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Once More Into the Groove: Desperately Seeking Susan Turns 25

Empty out your vintage shopping bags from Love Saves the Day, unroll your fishnet stockings and dust off that pyramid jacket you claim belonged to Jimi Hendrix, because 'Desperately Seeking Susan' is a quarter-century old. This 1985 comedy-drama, which starred Rosanna Arquette as a New Jersey housewife masquerading as a bohemian Manhattanite - and, by the way, provided Madonna with her first lead role in a movie - was for a generation of viewers an introduction to New York’s downtown counterculture and its motley fashion sensibility.
Now the film plays like a cinematic time capsule, filled with endearingly grimy places, authentic and imagined, and distinctive personalities that have vanished from the city.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary, the Film Society of Lincoln Center is hosting a screening of the film at the Walter Reade Theater on Thursday evening that will be attended by its director, Susan Seidelman; its screenwriter, Leora Barish; and the producers Sarah Pillsbury and Midge Sanford.
ArtsBeat spoke recently to Ms. Seidelman (who went on to direct 'She-Devil,' 'Gaudi Afternoon' and episodes of 'Sex and the City,' among other projects) about the making of 'Desperately Seeking Susan,' her memories of New York in the ’80s and, of course, Madonna. These are excerpts from that conversation.

Q.Twenty-five years after the fact, what are you most looking forward to about this particular showing of 'Desperately Seeking Susan'?
A.I haven’t seen a lot of the actors and crew members in a while, but I haven’t seen it on a big screen in many, many years, so I’m just as curious to see how New York has aged. It was a very different place back then, especially downtown. Young people didn’t have to move out to Brooklyn and Queens to find affordable housing.

To read the rest of the interview with Susan visit artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com


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