Andy Warhol & Paul Morrissey – Chelsea Girls (1966)


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Viewed in the cold light of the 21st century, The Chelsea Girls, Andy Warhol’s epic exploration of the many sordid eccentricities of his circle of “superstar” acquaintances, now seems like some sort of anthropological document, albeit one with its own odd charm, in which the Manhattan Hipster Speed Freak is observed in its natural environment. Shot in 1966, The Chelsea Girls was filmed in a manner befitting a documentary. Warhol sets up his camera, turns it on, and lets it roll for about 35 minutes until he literally runs out of film while his subjects either prattle on about whatever crosses their drug-ravaged imaginations (several characters shoot up speed on camera, while Eric Emerson was supposedly tripping on acid when he filmed his long monologue) or enact free-form psychodramas replete with lots of shouting and bitter accusations. While there’s plenty of restless panning and zooming, there are no cuts until the camera simply goes to leader and the next roll appears. The Chelsea Girls is also screened with two separate images running side by side for its three-and-a-half hour duration. Continue reading Andy Warhol & Paul Morrissey – Chelsea Girls (1966)