The Decline of Western Civilization

A seminal document of the West Coast punk scene of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Penelope Spheeris’ film captures interviews and often-searing performance footage from bands like X, the Germs, the Circle Jerks, and Black Flag. (As well as tedious also-rans like Catholic Discipline, lest you think it was all bitchin’.) The most haunting aspect, however, is the “lightbulb kids,” ordinary young scenester interviewees who hint at actual decline. -LG

1981 Dir. Penelope Spheeris. 1.37:1 Color/B&W dcp 100 min.