D.O.A. (1980; screening Oct. 4) documents the Sex Pistols' ill-fated tour of the American South in 1978. Energetic performances by the Pistols and others are the obvious lure, but the focus on bleak tableaux of working-class Britain and America goes far in explaining why punk was inevitable. Fans of Nancy 'n' Sid will appreciate Nancy's cosmic whine and Sid's heroin hyperbabble. Born to Lose: The Last Rock N' Roll Movie (1999; Oct. 18) covers related terrain in its raw portrait of rock icon/junk casualty Johnny Thunders of the New York Dolls.
The drug plays the lead in the brilliant Gringo (aka Story of a Junkie) (1984; Oct. 4). The nominal star is Johnny Spacely, an articulate, charismatic addict who "treasure-hunts" his way through a pre-Disneyfied New York, skateboarding in and out of dope deals and rat-hole apartments. The denizens of Rock Soup (1991; Oct. 11) are homeless New Yorkers who defend an outdoor soup kitchen and hangout in the Lower East Side against development. In a riveting sequence, eloquent street people, screaming senior citizens, and a numb group of politicians duke it out. The Boot Factory (2000; Oct. 19) moves the grim but lively action to Poland, where three aging punk rockers dance, shoot up, get married, and, of course, make boots.