Lacking a formal narrative, Warhol's art house classic follows various residents of the Chelsea Hotel in 1966 New York City, presented in a split screen with a single audio track in conjunction with one side of screen.
At a New York City restaurant, the patrons are men, nude but for a G-string, waited on by one woman, also clad in a G-string (played by Viva) and a G-bestringed (bestrung?) waiter. Some of ... See full summary »
It's the Velvet Underground in 1966 so it would be difficult to make this bad. Pretty much the only way it could be ruined is if the cameraman zoomed in and out rapidly for 10 minutes... 20 minutes... 30 minutes... which, in fact, is the case. It's absolutely nauseating. While this might not bother some, it certainly bothered me.
I guess what the cameraman was trying to do was treat the camera like it was an instrument. The other effects don't detract from this document, and the zoom wouldn't even be that bad if it was used a little more sparingly. On occasions, though, I really wish the camera was strictly used as a means to record this moment in time. John Cale plays something really wicked looking at one point, but you never really get a good look at it with all the zooming in and out and the tendency to not be focusing on what you want to see.
It is still a film worth seeing for any Velvet Underground fan, and if you're a fan of Warhol's films, well, I guess you're used to things that are difficult to watch, so go for it. I definitely understand why this isn't commercially available. I'm glad I saw it, but I wouldn't be disappointed if I never saw it again.
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