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This is the best film I've seen, not only about the shooting of Andy
by Valerie Solanis, but about the whole factory scene full
The film doesn't try to get a message across, it paints a picture of what actually happened. It shows that Valerie Solanis, although intelligent and mistreated, was above all a psychopath and it shows that probably Andy Warhol and definitely the rest of the factory did not really care about Valerie or for that matter, feminism at all.
This film does sort of come off for some reason as being pro-feminism, which is a good thing, but it doesn't try to hide the wrong doings of Valerie Solanis.
Lili Taylor is astonishingly good as the bright but highly-disturbed
woman who tried to kill the celebrated non-artist. We see the story told in
dislocated flashback as the would-be assassin Valerie Solanis is arrested
and interviewed after the shooting. Home movie footage is poignantly
interleaved with Valerie's matter-of-fact admissions.
Having been abused as a child, and sexually promiscuous before puberty, Solanis developed a strong antipathy towards men during her student years at the University of Maryland. She financed her degree course by means of prostitution. The film shows her living rough in New York City between 1966 and 1968, begging, soliciting for sex and performing radical street theatre.
She is drawn into the twilight world of Warhol's 'court' of phoneys and hangers-on, a disturbed New York wise-ass who demands recognition but who will never be taken seriously by these Beautiful People.
Jared Harris plays Warhol beautifully as the inarticulate, vacuous fraud at the head of a sham 'movement'. Significantly, Warhol does not get involved in whatever's going on. A Warhol film is being shot in The Factory, but we learn that Andy won't be around today. A drug-besotted 'happening' takes place under the Warhol aegis, but Andy stays on the margins, even of the sex - his purpose is to hit on the wealthy voyeurs who turn up at his parties.
As Warhol the cynical manipulator grows in media credibility, Solanis is reduced to peddling squalid sex and copies of her manifesto around Greenwich Village. It is clear that she has been 'dropped' by the court of Queen Drella. She becomes increasingly embittered, feeling that Warhol is exploiting her writings, and her behaviour deteriorates into violence and incoherence. When she shows up in the same old rags at the newly-gentrified Factory, we grasp what she can't - that the gulf between her and these parasites with savvy is unbridgeable.
Solanis beds a fellow weirdo, and acquires a gun from him. We see their drug-induced disorientation in a sequence of crash-edits, a knowing reference to the pop style of sixties film-making.
This is a very shrewd and very watchable film. It damns Warhol, but is none the worse for that.
I Shot Andy Warhol, is based on the true life story of Valerie Solanas, who was a female radical in the 60's and was a lesbian and very against men. She wrote a play and came to New York, with a friend of hers who is a drag queen named Candy Darling to meet Andy Warhol. Valerie, gives Andy Warhol's company (called the factor) her play and soon she comes back and talks to Andy about it and Andy gets her to star in a couple of movies that he directs. Soon, Valerie gets a place and meets a publisher who inspires her to write a novel about her revolution and he plans to publish it. But soon Valerie starts to get paranoid and thinks that Andy Warhol, has to much impact on her life and thinks that he and the book publisher are setting her up so she plans to make herself famous by shooting him. Andy Warhol survived the shooting but died several years later due to complications and Valerie, was sent to a mental hospital and was homeless for quite awhile until she died of pneumonia. Her book SCUM Manifesto, is now published all over the world. Winner of the award for Best Art Direction at The Gijon International Film Festival, The Golden Space Needle Award for Best Actress (Lili Taylor, who plays Valerie Solanas) at The Seattle International Film Festival, The Best Actress Award at The Stockholm Film Festival and the special recognition for Lili Taylor at The Sundance Film Festival. I Shot Andy Warhol, has good direction, a good script, good performances from everybody involved, good original music, good cinematography and good production design. I Shot Andy Warhol, is a fascinating character study and a very interesting film. It shows the many different stages in a time of Valerie's life and it is compelling and played very well by Lili Taylor and all of the other actors. Also being a fan of Andy Warhol, I found the scenes with his factory and underground lifestyles with his films and art to be really interesting as well. This film shows a lot of different lifestyles and gives these characters interesting personalities and gives them good character development. The film is also a good looking film and looks like it probably would have back then. A very entertaining and fascinating look at an interesting person who you might not know of and of someone you do know of.
If Peeping Tom was directed by a woman, then it would probably resemble Mary Harron's wonderful I Shot Andy Warhol. Like Peeping Tom, I Shot Andy Warhol is about how misunderstandings between the sexes can lead to violence. What was so great about I Shot Andy Warhol is how it takes a woman who most people would consider a psychopath and it humanizes her. We see what drives Valerie Solanas to commit her "insane" act of shooting Andy Warhol, and we come to understand why she did what she ended up doing. In other words, I Shot Andy Warhol successfully gets into the head of "insanity." After watching this film, I thought of a poem from Emily Dickinson: "Much madness is divinest sense. . . to a discerning eye. Much sense, the starkest madness. Ascent, and you are sane. Demure, you're straightaway dangerous, and put into chains." Now, let's see what Mary Harron does with another story about a "psychopath," American Psycho. . .
Lili Taylor plays Valerie Solanas, an educated loose cannon, guerrilla female activist and self-described 'bull dyke', who was taken into custody in June 1968 after shooting and wounding Andy Warhol at his New York City office/hangout The Factory. Good-looking movie investigates a hazy chapter in history, yet leaves some unanswered questions in its wake (I wasn't aware that apparently an assistant was also shot, though the film makes no attempt to explain what happened to him). However, this small-budgeted film captures a decadently apathetic, coolly indifferent time and place quite vividly, as good as any post-'60s movie has yet managed. Taylor is appropriately forceful and ungainly in her role, which is more complex than one might think, and yet hers is the least interesting or intriguing character on display. Stephen Dorff does a pretty terrific job as transvestite Candy Darling, Tahnee Welch is unrecognizable as Warhol's most famous starlet Viva, and Jared Harris is flawless as Warhol (he nails it). Terrific art direction and composition, but the film lags a bit in the narrative department, with Solanas meeting an anti-bourgeois activist which doesn't come to much and has a facetious, puzzling relationship with publisher Maurice Girodias which seems half-baked. **1/2 from ****
I Shot Andy Warhol (1996) was an interesting movie that I saw on
satellite t.v. a few years ago. The movie was about the lesbian
neo-feminist and founder of S.C.U.M. Valerie Solanis (Lili Taylor).
She's an aspiring writer who's trying to fit in the mid sixties
lifestyle of New York City. Valerie lives with her sometimes lover
(Martha Plimpton) and co-worker. The two turn tricks, roll certain
customers and hang out with a transvestite named Candy Darling (Stephen
Dorff). One day Candy suggests to Valerie that she meet with Andy
Warhol (Jared Harris). The rest is history. Michael Imperioli co-stars
as a very catty Ondine, Tahnee Welch guest stars as Viva and Donovan
Leitch appears as Gerald Malanga.
If you want to see how Warhol's "Factory" and it's atmosphere then this is the movie you want to see. Jared Harris was perfect as Andy Warhol and Lili Taylor made Valerie Solanis into a tragic person who's life was filled with madness and heartbreak. I was also impressed with Stephen Dorff, I never knew how great of an actor he has become. This movie is perfect and ideal for those who always wanted to know what happened to Warhol during the late sixties and how his life and attitudes were changed forever.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you like indie counterculture flicks, this might be right up your
alley. It is the story of Valerie Solanas, a radical feminist lesbian
in the 60's who writes her revolutionary manifesto that attempts to rid
the world of the male species. For someone who is supposedly very
intelligent and who studied psychology, she is obviously unable to see
this as being completely insane, not to mention impossible. Her hatred
for men is text book, sexually abused as a child, forced into
prostitution to support herself, that would lead any woman to
So, here we have this man hating butch dike played to perfection by Lily Taylor, although since I have never seen Solanas (and I'm sure either had Taylor) I'm not sure if it was true to her, or just Taylor's own wild imaginings of what this woman must have been like. It's similar to Johnny Depp as Hunter S. Thompson, a great performance, but actually quite off the mark as an impersonation of Thompson. But since nobody knows anything about Solanas, Taylor is free to run wild, and run wild she does, as most of commented, completely carrying this film with her intensity and ferocity. If it wasn't for her, this movie would have been a complete bore, since whenever she is not in a scene, I nearly fell asleep, Harron has all these really slow panning shots in red filter that don't show anything of interest. I was kind of intrigued by Solanas philosophy, as bizarre as it was. Much of it was true, sex can be a very solitary experience, especially the kind of sex Solanas has had (rape and prostitution). Men can be governed by their insecurities based on sexual performance and desires (see most political/religious leaders). However what of the female insecurities and desires? THere are plenty and they are just as ugly as the male's. I often wonder if the world would be better off if women ruled it, because I have my own views on what is really driving our consumption based society which is killing the planet. It's the woman as much as the man, perhaps even more so. Women have an insatiable need to consume, hence turning shopping into a hobby, which no man has ever done.
Anyway, check this movie out simply for Taylor, she is brilliant and unrestrainted and her tough talking New York chick impersonation will mezmerize you.
Lili Taylor, as I think I've said here before, is one of my favorite actresses, but I have to admit I was hesitant about seeing this film, especially when a friend told me he found it overrated. I have a hard time with people who type people in general terms, and this movie seemed, at first, to say "All men are scum." And the opening 15-30 minutes seem to indicate this is just going to be a rant. However, you do gradually get to empathize with all the people involved, and you do get an idea of how things were at that time. Taylor and Jared Harris were fine as Valerie Solanas and Andy Warhol, respectively, but the real surprise for me was Stephen Dorff as Candy Darling. I've never thought much of Dorff, but he really shone through here, refusing to stereotype Candy or inject too much pathos.
Stephen Dorff and Lili Taylor and Jared Harris are all great in this film,
particularly Dorff. But the film's biggest weakness is that everyone in
movie is so weird you don't really care what happens to them. Only Dorff
manages to invest his character with enough humanity and vulnerability
you are actually interested to learn of his ultimate fate. I was kind of
surprised to learn that Solanis is held up as some kind of proto-feminist
lesbian guru when it is obvious she's only twisted and insane.
Imagine if the situation were reversed and Solanis was a man calling for the cutting up of all women and denouncing women as an inferior race. Such a viewpoint would be considered monstrous! Solanis is a crank and a fool, so it's impossible to take her character's world view any more seriously than the guy down by the subway station who mumbles to people who aren't there.
The entire Factory scene is rightly exposed as the pretentious, ridiculous collection of sub-mediocre talent it was. So the viewer isn't surprised when Solanis shoots Warhol, as he couldn't say no to anyone around him and surrounded himself with so many weirdos it was inevitable.
Would this film have been lauded had it been a biopic of Mark David Chapman? I don't see much difference between Solanis and Chapman frankly...both complete, colossal failures in life who managed to gain notierity through murder or attempted murder.
In summary, this was a well-executed take on a rather idiotic topic. I'd rather see the director use her talents to make a movie about people who deserve the effort. Not worthless no-talents like Warhol and Solanis.
Lily Taylor was astonishingly good as Valerie in I Shot Andy Warhol. She's a versatile and entertaining actress who certainly does not get enough credit. Stephen Dorf as a transvestite... who knew? But he was also incredibly good. The entire cast does a fantastic job. It's a thoroughly enjoyable fictionalized chronicle of the emergence of the SCUM Manifesto and the events leading up to the shooting of Andy Warhol, by Taylor's character a paranoid schizophrenic, man-hating, lesbian. What could be more entertaining than that?
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