Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More Warhol: "Space" & "Beauty No. 2"

so after the screen shots it was time to check out some of the real time Warhol "movies" lingering in obscurity. Both 60 minute films in tonights programme more or less centre on Edie Sedgwick, the young and vain socialite and IT girl featuring in many of his movies of the time. In the accompanying sheet Patti Smith recalls touchingly how she first came across Edie in a magazine and how she came over from New Jersey and started hanging around outside the clubs just to catch a glimpse of her. In "Space" a group of stoned and half naked young people including Edie, seated suggestively next to a big mirror and showing off her mirror image as well as her trademark huge earrings all the time, sit around and at first try to read lines from a script that quickly gets abandoned in favour of aimless strumming on the guitar and endless narcissistic discussions, playing around with food, thinking loudly what people in 30 years time will make of it. It's kinda like an hourlong Big Brother straight from the Factory and the vain, nihilistic, hedonistic and really quite innocent and even naive 60s, and it's not as boring as that may sound, though people start to leave at that point already.

In "Beauty No. 2" Edie is even more centrestage, lying on a bed with a gorgeous young potential boyfriend, Gino, both almost naked, drinking, smoking, and almost making out with each other, occasionally stroking and discussing a dog called Horse, and mainly talking with Chuck Wein, who is her former boyfriend and who talks her in and out of the situation which seems to be to check to see whether Gino is boyfriend material (again, this sort of stuff gets shown on MTV all the time, so another precursor to reality TV). It's a very sexy scene, and just as it gets raunchy, Chuck really starts to put the boot in with his campy off screen conversation, probing the real Edie behind the beautiful vain facade who gets increasingly worked up about the things he says. The last half hour is absolutely hilarious in its improvised cruelty and suddenly people in the audience who hadn't left by then started to chuckle loudly. They are funny and cruel, these movies. And the stripped down format, which plays like a deranged game show on an endless loop has a strange existentialist quality, the camera never leaves the scene, and it goes on and on. Edie really is a movie star here, however accidental, and fascinating to watch, she does ooze that star quality, even though her inherent vainness gets shown up all the time.

Oh, and EVERYONE was chainsmoking the whole time which was painful to watch for me. It's really sending out the wrong message, people. In so many ways...

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