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Beauty #2 (1965)
Director: Andy Warhol

The movie has a fixed point of view showing a bed with two characters on it, Sedgwick and Piserchio. Chuck Wein is heard speaking but is just out of view. Sedgwick is wearing a lace bra and panties, and Piserchio, wearing only jockey shorts, engage in flirting and light kissing. Wein asks Sedgwick questions seemingly designed to harass and annoy her. Piserchio is more or less a bystander not interacting with Wein. The dialogue seems created adlib and no conclusions are reached in the film. The only conceivable climax is when Sedgwick finally becomes so mad, she throws a glass ashtray at Wein, breaking it.

Beauty #2 (1965)


Most of what Warhol does for me is of the “oh, I get it” variety of art, where a statement is supposed to trigger an insight and the insight is the art. Its an indirection of agency, and wears out its effect quickly.

But sometimes it connects deeply, and this does.

You might see an insipid couple playing role games and wonder why anyone would waste time making or watching this. But let’s put this in my category of directors filming lovers. It isn’t quite the case are other instances, because what Warhol loves here is the seductive expertise of this woman. She is an artist. She is in bed with an absolute doofus, good looking guy who believes he is the seducer. Neither one seems to understand just why this would be filmed. They are conscious of the camera; this is not a situation where the camera was so familiar it was invisible.

Okay, here’s what grabs you. This woman knows how to allure. She knows when to extend just a bit outside her own envelope and when to signal return to a simple being. She knows that the tiniest inflection, the simplest modification of directness is the most attractive thing. The idea is that this non-self manipulation needs to be integrated with self. She is both in the romantic situation and outside, subtly manipulating it.

If you ever loved. If you ever looked at your partner and wondered why. If you ever loved, then this may grab you and trigger something about why, and deepen by opening.

This is why Warhol matters. Its not a small thing, seeing this.

Posted in 2008

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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