Quietly, this past week, in a silent room, filled only by the purr of Andy Ditzler’s 16mm Bell and Howell projector I experienced an epiphany.
Seated beside another witness, with Ditzler in back keeping his watchful eye on the machine, I was enveloped by a cinematic “a-ha” moment.
Bloated from a diet of junk food and rot, I welcomed this bold, purifying cleanse.
After years of darkness, I saw the light, once again.
Watching three short films from Warhol’s silent period—HAIRCUT (NO.1), SCREEN TEST: FOUR OF ANDY WARHOL’S MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN and EAT, I reconnected with the art of cinema.
Like Manet’s Olympia, the subjects of Warhol’s HAIRCUT return the gaze.
Shot at the speed of sound (24 fps), but projected at the industry (factory?) standard for silent film (18 fps), simple everyday activities like getting a haircut or eating become something otherworldly, meditative, luminescent.
In stark contrast to the industry noise underway in the snow-capped mountains of Utah, Warhol’s films, (somewhat ironically) serve as a beacon of purity. While time and technology (hi-def digital with hi-fi surround sound, or streaming online) has passed them by, these films exist only as silent, B/W, 16mm prints.
In EAT, watching Robert Indiana savor a single, solitary mushroom for a half-hour or more proves a profound, revelatory, hypnotic, contemplative experience.
Indiana devours a savory truffle
Once the epitome of “Independent Cinema,” as defined by Jonas Mekas an his ilk, Warhol’s silent films are considered relics. Time capsules. Though deceptively simpler, they remain bolder and more daring than anything produced in recent memory.
These films screen tonight at 8:00 pm at Eye Drum in Atlanta as the first of two partsof a Film Love event, programmed, hosted, and projected by Andy Ditzler, for Frequent Small Meals.
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