Directed by Matt Tyrnauer, 2018


It was a perfect alignment of the popular-culture planets: crumbling late-1970s New York; burgeoning gay culture; the rise of disco; celebrity decadence.

Studio 54 nightclub emerged from this conjunction thanks to two hyper-energetic entrepreneurs: Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, Schrager the introverted yin to Rubell’s irrepressible yang. A dizzying parade of images rushes by (Warhol and Minnelli seem to have been there almost every night) as Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary tells this story of life, death (mostly from Aids) and tax-evasion.

It’s a brisk, efficient, engaging film, although a cultural commentator might have dug deeper into the inevitable and emblematic clash between American hedonism and American puritanism.


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