Worldwide Warhol: Restaurant (aka L’Aventura) and The Life of Juanita Castro

Friday, April 29, 2016 - 3:00pm

International House

Featuring films by Andy Warhol introduced by Dr. Homay King, History of Art Professor, Bryn Mawr College, who will be joined for a post-screening discussion by Iggy Cortez, PhD Candidate in the Department of the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania.

This program is supported by Kaja Silverman and the Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award, the Katherine Stein Sachs and Keith L. Sachs Program in Contemporary Art in the Department of History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women at the University of Pennsylvania.

Restaurant: The film begins with a close-up of a table in a restaurant covered with a checkered cloth, in a composition that strongly suggests a still life. It lingers there for a long time before beginning a slow outward zoom. All the while we overhear poorly recorded snippets of conversation. We see hands move in and out of the frame, lifting glasses and tapping cigarettes. We recognize Edie Sedgwick by her signature dancer's tights and jewelry. The group discuss a recent trip to Tangier; the conversation returns frequently to past and upcoming travel. At one point, a whole, uncut pineapple is delivered to their table, despite the fact that they are in an Italian restaurant: it is not meant to be eaten, but to evoke the possibility of adventure in exotic, semi-imaginary lands.

The Life of Juanita Castro: This film, loosely inspired by Fidel Castro's sister who defected from Cuba to the United States, features a script by Ronald Tavel, a frequent collaborator of Warhol's at this time. It is essentially a work of filmed theater. The actors are arranged in a tableau resembling a family portrait, at an oblique angle to the camera, and they deliver their lines in monotone. Often, their lines have to be fed to them: the poor acting style creates a Brechtian distancing effect, and becomes part of Warhol's project to include everything in his film works, even the bits that would normally be cast off.

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