MARCH 22, 1965: CASTRO OPENS.
Warhol’s film, The Life of Juanita Castro premiered at the Film-Makers Cinematheque. (DB217) It was filmed at WALDO BALART’s apartment on West 10th Street. RONALD TAVEL wrote the script, inspired by Waldo who also appeared in the film and whose sister had been married to FIDEL CASTRO. Fidel had divorced her just before he became Premier. (POP111)
The Life of Juanita Castro (1965)
THE LIFE OF JUANITA CASTRO was filmed by Andy Warhol in 1965, from a scenario by Ronald Tavel. Described by Village Voice film critic Andrew Sarris as “the only valid statement I have seen on Cuba in the past several years,” it depicted actors designated as Fidel, Juanita, Che and Raul improvising spontaneous responses to a tyrannical director’s instructions for action. After Tavel split from Warhol later that year, he arranged for a live performance of JUANITA CASTRO as one half of the theatrical double bill which launched The Play-House of the Ridiculous-the most transgressively queer underground theatre collective of its day-with costumes designed by the erstwhile filmmaker, Jack Smith. This entirely unrehearsed reconstruction performed by Lucky Pierre, with live video relay, will attempt to re-realise Jonas Mekas’s notion of “expanded cinema.”
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