The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For more information on films playing in the Cinémathèque, please call 773-281-4114. To order advance tickets online, visit the TicketWeb website by clicking here.
WARHOL AND THE FILM FACTORY
"They're experimental films; I call them that because I don't know what I'm doing. I'm interested in audience reaction to my films: my films now will be experiments, in a certain way, on testing their reactions" -Andy Warhol, 1967
The enormous impact Andy Warhol's art made on culture has been widely recognized through countless museum shows, publications and films. But much less known is the seminal contribution of Warhol and his collaborators to film. This unique role is the subject of a first-of-a-kind major festival and conference Warhol and the Film Factory, organized, programmed and presented by the Facets Cinematheque. Warhol expanded our concepts of the film language, re-defined the idea of film as entertainment, and liberated legions of future filmmakers to use the camera as a singular means of personal expression. The week-long festival begins on Friday, November 16, with Night at the Factory Gala, bringing Chicago arts and film lovers face-to-face with the films of Andy Warhol.
The Facets Cinémathèque extends its gratitude to the British Film Institute for its guidance and consultation.
A distinguished panel of filmmakers and critics will discuss and explore the life and legacy of Andy Warhol, recognizing his cinema as one of the greatest accomplishments of his career as an artist. His films also reveal the artist at work as cultural historian and documentarian, capturing some of the most interesting cultural phenomena of the 1960's. Some of the questions which will arise are: Who is the real Warhol? Who are his "Superstar" collaborators, and what is the extent of the Warhol Factory's influence on contemporary filmmakers? How did he re-define cinema as an art form? What is the importance of the Warhol films as cultural and documentary history, capturing some of the most interesting cultural phenomena of the 1960s? The panel will include: Fred Camper, who is a writer and lecturer on art, film, and photography, whose writing appears regularly in the Chicago Reader; Craig B. Highberger, is a filmmaker, editor, cinematographer, producer and screenwriter who directed the film, Superstar in a Housedress: The Life and Legend of Jackie Curtis and James Rasin, a writer and filmmaker whose script, Somebody's Sins, centered on the life of Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, and who is completing his feature documentary, Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar.
Moderator: Jonathan Miller, who is the film critic for Eight Forty-Eight on WBEZ (91.5 FM)
Sat., Nov. 17 at 3 p.m
Shot on location in Tucson, Arizona, Lonesome Cowboys is a homoerotic satire of the Western genre, loosely based on Romeo and Juliet. Viva stars as Ramona, her lover Julian is played by Tom Hompertz, and Louis Waldon, Eric Emerson and Joe Dallesandro play a close-knit band of brothers whose solidarity is threatened by Viva's feminine wiles. The film features brilliant performances by Mead and by Francis Francine as a sheriff who dresses in drag.
Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1967-68, 109 mins.
"A fabulously fond and entertaining tribute...features much excellent footage of Curtis in performance" -Village Voice
"Bitchy, catty, moving, and hilarious -- this rogues' gallery sharply evokes Curtis's life and era." -New York Magazine
"Highberger evokes not only Warhol's era but also the artistic world's outer edges, so rich in creativity and so steeped in excess, that flourished during the Vietnam War years and later reverberated through mainstream society." -Los Angeles Times
This "superstar in a housedress" happens to be Jackie Curtis: actor, playwright, drag queen extraordinaire, and with Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn, also an Andy Warhol superstar. Through interviews with Curtis' friends, Superstar in a Housedress not only paints a fascinating picture of one performer in New York City, but also serves as a who's who of the avant-garde artists of the 1960's and '70's. Recreating the atmosphere of the off-off-off-off-Broadway scene before, during, and after the rise of more famous performers like Andy Warhol, Bette Midler, and Barbra Streisand, filmmaker Craig Highberger pays tribute to his friend using video clips of Jackie's cabaret performances, as well as interviews and stories about every aspect of this amazing life.
Directed by Craig B. Highberger, U.S.A., 2003, 35mm, 95 mins.
Cinechat: Filmmaker Craig B. Highberger will be here for a Q&A after the screening.
In January 1966, Warhol became the manager of a proto-punk rock'n'roll band called the Velvet Underground whose members included Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker. Warhol added Nico as a singer with the group, and created the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, a multi-media environment of projected films, colored lights, strobe lighting, patterned slides and wild dancers who accompanied the band onstage. In The Velvet Underground and Nico, the police arrive at the Factory during a band rehearsal because of a noise complaint.
"Warhol's high standing as a visual artist and cultural icon has overshadowed his radical work in the cinema, but the recent emergence of many of his early films may change some of that. Restaurant...shows Warhol's sensibility in full flower." -Bright Lights Film Journal
Shot mostly in close-up, Poor Little Rich Girl is something like a straightforward 'documentary' of Edie Sedgwick waking up at home, putting on make-up, and talking to the off-screen Chuck Wein. Because of a lens problem, the first version of the film was entirely out-of-focus; after reshooting, Warhol matched the out-of-focus first reel with the in-focus second reel to create an elusive portrait of his star. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1965. 66 mins.
Restaurant is another installment in the 'day in the life of Edie Sedgwick' project which began with Poor Little Rich Girl. Accompanied by friends, Edie dines at L'Avventura, her favorite restaurant, while Warhol achieves some stunning close-ups. Directed by Andy Warhol ,U.S.A., 1965, 33 mins.
BEAUTIFUL DARLING: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CANDY DARLING, ANDY WARHOL SUPERSTAR
The actress Candy Darling, born James Slattery in a Long Island suburb in 1944, became one of the main figures in Andy Warhol's circle in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and starred in the Paul Morrissey-directed films Flesh and Women in Revolt. Director James Rasin will show a half-hour selection of priceless archival and interview footage from his feature documentary in progress.
Directed by James Rasin, U.S.A., 2007, DVD, 30 mins.
Cinechat: Filmmaker James Rasin will be here for a Q&A after the screening.
Three films from 1963-64 trace the early development of Warhol's minimalist cinema.
In Kiss, shots of different kissing couples, both straight and gay, were filmed over a number of months and eventually assembled into a larger, 'serial' work. With Naomi Levine, Gerard Malanga, Rufus Collins and Marisol. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1964. 54 mins. Silent.
In the homoerotic Haircut, a single haircutting scene is shot from various camera angles over multiple rolls; the painstaking cinematography, expressionistic lighting and carefully arranged poses deny the assumed 'simplicity' of Warhol's early films. With John Daley, Freddie Herko and Billy Name. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1963-64, 24 mins. Silent.
In Eat, Warhol uses a single shot continued over multiple rolls to create a stunning close-up portrait of the painter Robert Indiana eating a single mushroom; the rolls are assembled out of order, so the mushroom appears magically to renew itself from time to time. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1964, 28 mins. Silent.
In Space, a prepared scenario written by Ronald Tavel is deliberately ignored by a youthful cast that includes folksinger Eric Andersen, Edie Sedgwick, and a number of her friends. As the crowd becomes increasingly boisterous, Warhol's camera prowls the scene, examining faces and isolating many striking images. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1965, 66 mins.
Imitation of Christ is a domestic comedy about a strange but beautiful young man who wanders through life oblivious to the complaints of his parents (Brigid Berlin and Ondine), and the attempted seductions of his maid (Nico), his girlfriend (Andrea Feldman) and Taylor Mead. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1967-69, 85 mins.
"Andy Warhol's pioneering gay cinema offering, and still an entertaining bitchfest." -Film Threat
My Hustler was the first quasi-commercial venture of Warhol's underground film production. Conceived by Chuck Wein and Dorothy Dean and shot at a private beach house on Fire Island, this story of a male hustler pursued by patrons of both sexes has since become a classic of gay cinema. Thanks to the lack of a script and non-actors who simply played themselves, My Hustler is a work of convincing ethnographic realism. With Ed Hood, Paul America. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1965, 67 mins.
The pretext for Beauty #2 is that Edie is 'auditioning' new boyfriends; an earlier film in this sequence, Beauty #1, has not yet been restored. While she lies on her bed with a candidate, an off-screen interrogator, played by Chuck Wein, probes her with personal questions and uncomfortable commentary. The psychological complexities of this voyeuristic scenario, in which film-maker and viewer are also implicated, make this one of Warhol's most disturbing films. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1965, 66 mins.
In this social sex comedy, Joe Spencer, a young motorcyclist or "bikie", as he calls himself, attempts to hold his own series of amorous encounter with Warhol superstars. Although Joe is presented as an object of desire, his naïveté and vulgarity are no match for the sophisticated and wacky banter of Ed Hood, Brigid Berlin, Ingrid Superstar and Viva. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1967-68, 109 mins.
The Life of Juanita Castro is an elaborately scripted (by Ronald Tavel) avant-garde satire about Latin American politics; the entire cast, representing the family of Fidel Castro, sit in chairs as if grouped for a family portrait, repeating the lines Tavel feeds them from the back row. With Marie Menken, Ultra Violet. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A.,1965, 66 mins.
Mon., Nov. 19 at 9 pm
VINYL + KITCHEN
"Warhol's passive-aggressive view of his emotionally vacant characters is heightened by the blocklike black-and-white composition, which imbues the refrigerator with as much presence as the cast (in fact, the furniture is included in the credits)." -Chicago Reader (re: Kitchen)
Loosely based (by Ronald Tavel) on Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, Vinyl is an avant-garde exploration of cultural incompatiblity. The young hoodlum Victor, played by Gerard Malanga, is rehabilitated by leather-clad S&M practitioners, while a Greenwich Village hipster (Ondine) and an upper class socialite (Edie Sedgwick) look on; this vaguely menacing scenario is accompanied by loud, repeated playing of Martha and the Vandellas' 'Nowhere to Run'. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1965, 66 mins.
In Kitchen, Tavel and Warhol toy with heterosexuality and gender identity in a story about two unhappy couples. The narrative is intercepted by the occasional running of a blender, the continual sneezing of Sedgwick and her co-stars, a large hair stuck in the frame, and sudden appearances by a photographer who strides on set to take snaps of the actors. With Edie Sedgwick, Donald Lyons, Roger Trudeau. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1965, 66 mins.
Although Warhol claimed this sexploitation feature was really 'an anti-war film', it seems in retrospect more like a spoof of the 1967 'Summer of Love'. The Nude Restaurant presents a number of Warhol stars clad only in G-strings and incongruously gathered in a restaurant. Viva delivers a brilliant, reel-long monologue about her early sexual experiences, and Taylor Mead gets into a hilarious argument with an anti-war activist. With Ingrid Superstar, Louis Waldon.
Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1967, 100 mins.
Tues., Nov. 20 at 9 pm
BLOW JOB + HARLOT
"It is a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience and it is not to be missed." -Senses of Cinema
"Sublime" -Village Voice
"Like all Warhol work from this period, it's well worth seeing." -Chicago Reader
In Blow Job, Warhol's unmoving camera remains focused in close-up on the head of a young man, never descending to reveal the sex act explicitly advertised in the film's title, an event that is nevertheless legible in the changing expressions on the actor's face. Conceived as an irreverent slap in the face of 60's film censorship, this hypnotic portrait film has become an essential work in the history of queer cinema. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1964, 36 mins. Silent.
Harlot was Warhol's first synch-sound film, features Mario Montez, the gifted drag performer who also appeared in several Jack Smith films) is an underground 'camp' version of the Jean Harlow story, staged as a kind of tableau vivant on the Factory couch, with an off-screen soundtrack improvised by a trio of poets (Warhol can be heard giving directions). Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1964, 67 mins.
"Since everyone says I never stop the camera, I stop it now, start and stop, and that makes it look cut." -Andy Warhol
Bufferin is Warhol's portrait of his studio assistant, the poet Gerard Malanga. Malanga reads aloud from his journal, censoring himself by substituting the word 'bufferin' for people's names. Warhol responds by editing Malanga's performance in-camera, interrupting his reading with sudden 'strobe cuts' created by turning the camera off and then on again. Directed by Andy Warhol, U.S.A., 1966, 33 mins.
Mrs Warhol is an extended portrait of the artist's 74-year-old mother, Julia Warhola, at home in their townhouse. A sketchy storyline suggests that Julia is an ageing movie star with 25 former husbands. Her newest husband is played by Richard Rheem, a young man who was Warhol's boyfriend at the time. Julia chatters away in her nearly incomprehensible accent, shows Richard how to iron a shirt, and then scrambles some eggs. Directed by U.S.A., 1966. 67 mins.
Wed., Nov. 21 at 8:30 pm
SCREEN TEST #1 + SCREEN TEST #2
"Hilarious" -Village Voice (re: Screen Test #2)
Screen Test #1 and Screen Test #2 (not to be confused with Warhol's silent Screen Test portrait films) are the first Warhol films scripted by Ronald Tavel. Both are based on the idea of the off-screen interrogation; in each case, Tavel reads from a script which the on-screen performer has not seen. In Screen Test #1, Philip Fagan becomes increasingly wooden and unresponsive to Tavel's suggestive and campy instructions. In Screen Test #2, the drag performer Mario Montez suffers through the humiliating improvisations demanded of him and emerges triumphant, sustained by his faith in his self-created persona. Taken together, these films offer a fascinating look at the complexities of queer identity in the 60's.
Directed by Andy Warhol: Screen Test #1, U.S.A., 1965. 66 mins. Screen Test #2, U.S.A., 1965, 67 mins.
The plot follows a young man, Tom Baker, as he attempts to tryst with various women; one scene includes a very funny staircase encounter with Valerie Solanas, the woman who would shoot and nearly kill Warhol in 1968.