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Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film
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Having watched this excellent film, I feel a greatly enriched appreciation for Warhol's art---a sense of what it said, how it worked, and how it became a cliche. (I was particularly ill-informed about Warhol's films, which were discussed in great detail.)
The Factory--where Warhol worked (but seldom played) and where transvestites, drifters, and creative spirits intermingled--is featured in healthy portions. This locale comes across as one of those rare places in history where the geist of a era is spatially concentrated. Here, in this one extraordinary place of production, Warhol and others fomented art and a vision of a post-Fordist world. This film is essential viewing (like the Weather Underground or Berkeley in the Sixties) for those who want to ingest and comprehend the paradigm shift of the "1960s."
Warhol's cruel indifference to the self-destruction of those around him is critically revealed. While some in the Factory drank and drugged themselves to death, Warhol passively watches, always remaining cool, detached, and voyeuristic.
The attempted homicide on Warhol, his commercialism, and his later years are all mentioned. I would fault the film for not showing Warhol speak on film more often, for not really considering his cooptation by capitalism, and for skipping over his influence in art and in popular society.
I must admit though, that the film is brilliantly executed, and well worth your time and nickel.
This documentary seems to focus mostly on the silver factory years, which lasted only from the early 60s to 1968, yet takes up most of the 4 hours of this film. Granted, those were arguably some of the most influential and important years of his career, but I wish this film contained more on his later life. The last 2 decades of his career, the 70s and 80s, took up only the last 20 minutes (credits included) of the whole 4 hours, which is only a brief summary. This is the only reason I decked one star off my rating, as the 70s and 80s are my personal favorite times in his career. There's always The Andy Warhol Diaries for that area though, which I would also recommend.
So, overall, I would recommend this to anyone interested in Andy, and to those who are already fans. Even though it's lacking in it's coverage of his later career, it excels in every other aspect, and I'm glad I got to see it.
The doc starts at his earliest moments and recounts most of the hardship he endured in his poor Pittsburgh-Slavic upbringing. From the early death of his father to the child illness that left him forever pale-skinned with patchy color, Laurie Anderson narrates objectively and evenly as if she were the perfect voice-over to Andy's life. Most of the footage is real, in other words not stock footage inserted to 'illustrate' the script. Equally important, it fits accurately and sequentially in its chronology to the script. I was amazed at the sheer volume of Warhol footage, both moving and still imagery.
Interviews with critics, collectors, artists and dealers enrich the narration. This includes dated and periodic commentary captured during the 60's and 70's and also later interviews that appear to have been filmed specifically for this doc (I haven't seen, for example, the interview with Irving Blum anywhere else).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The definitive documentary on the artist. A better one does not exist.Published 7 months ago by Craig Hooper
A wonderful Documentary Film on the life of Andy Warhol that is unique and timeless. It was my pleasure to have met him a year before his untimely death. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Scott G. Brown
Pretty decent documentary… showing the good/bad side of Drella. Somewhat repetitive at times and breezed over the later years after he was shot. Worth watching. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Bing
I love the way this thing drags on.
I can go do dishes and have it on full blast
and know exactly when to come back into the room
soaken wet and look at the cool... Read more
Fascinating, well made film that really goes into what made Warhol great. Lots of background on his artistic ability which is usually passed over in favor of his Studio 54 days. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Kathleen M.
You will definitely love this film! It is one of my favorite movies, and I watch it all the time!Published 23 months ago by Winky
One of the best documentaries ever made on an artist. I am an art historian and I learned so much about Andy Warhol. Ric Burns does an excellent job! Read morePublished on December 12, 2013 by Joan L. Hart
Truly, an incredible work. Its only flaw is its lack of serious treatment of Warhol's artistic output of the 70's and 80's. Read morePublished on January 13, 2013 by dean Seppelfrick