Directed by Chris Rodley
Narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt
- Chronology of Andy Warhol and his “Superstars”
- Andy Warhol Filmography
Released by: BFS.
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Get it at the library.
Artists can take a normal situation (a woman sitting, a bowl of fruit, an outdoor scene), add their talent and inspiration, and create something more. So is Andy Warhol duly famous for making a bunch of soup cans into art or did he con the art world with attitude and bohemian eccentricity? He even called his own art studio “The Factory” and most of his work is photos transferred to canvas by silk-screening and slapping some color on them. So is it art or is it bullshit? Regardless of your answer, Warhol’s efforts in art, music, film, and publishing still influence today’s media. The documentary Andy Warhol: The Complete Picture tries to understand the man who used artistic pretension as a shield and his own self-image to hide behind.
It can’t be easy to make a documentary about a man who so successfully blended his hype with himself, whose art was done by others and was torn whole cloth from popular culture. But the producers interviewed many of his former colleagues and hanger-ons to get a sense of the man. They even talked to Warhol’s brother as he talks about a shy frail boy who collected movie star photos. Through the interviews, we get a sense of Warhol’s obsessions with celebrity, sex, and death. However, a complete picture of Warhol, as the title suggests, is impossible. Warhol worked diligently to produce a brand name, a public persona to interact with the outside world. It’s as if he wanted just the message and none of his own personality in his product. Even his autobiography was ghostwritten. While the public part of Warhol enjoyed the years of hippy anarchy at the Factory and the years of disco excess at Studio 54, that private part seemed content to take notes. The point of this show is present the evidence of Warhol and let the viewer decide.
The special features are spare, but what’s there is rather good. The chronology of Warhol and his band of artists, actors, and other freaks known as his “superstars” is quite complete and detailed with bits of trivia thrown in. The filmography details which movies Warhol was director, writer, producer, and cinematographer as well as his appearances in film and television through the years. I would have liked some extended interviews with the participants or maybe a photo gallery of Warhol’s work. Still, The Complete Picture gives us a glimpse into the artist and his world. What we made of him is, like art, open to interpretation.