I Shot Andy Warhol

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I Shot Andy Warhol
Shotandywarhol.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMary Harron
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onThe Letters and Diaries of Candy Darling, 1992
by Jeremiah Newton
Starring
Music byJohn Cale
CinematographyEllen Kuras
Edited byKeith Reamer
Production
company
  • BBC Arena
  • Playhouse International Pictures
  • Killer Films
Distributed byThe Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release date
  • May 1, 1996 (1996-05-01)
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$1.9 million[1]

I Shot Andy Warhol is a 1996 American-British independent film about the life of Valerie Solanas and her relationship with the artist Andy Warhol. The film marked the feature film directorial debut of Canadian director Mary Harron. The film stars Lili Taylor as Valerie, Jared Harris as Andy Warhol, and Martha Plimpton as Valerie's friend Stevie. Stephen Dorff plays Warhol superstar Candy Darling. John Cale of The Velvet Underground wrote the film's score[2] despite protests from former band member Lou Reed.[citation needed] Yo La Tengo plays an anonymous band that is somewhat reminiscent of the group.[citation needed]

The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.[3] To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Teddy Awards, the film was selected to be shown at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2016.[4]

Plot[edit]

The film opens moments after the shooting, quickly followed by a scene with Valerie Solanas in custody for shooting Andy Warhol. The film then uses flashbacks to when Valerie is living in New York making a living as a sex worker, then to her difficult childhood, then to her success in studying psychology at college. Here, Valerie discovers that she is a lesbian, that she can write, and that she has a distinctive view of the world. This leads her to New York City and its downtown underworld. Through her friend Stevie, she meets Candy Darling, who in turn introduces her to Andy Warhol.

Meanwhile, Valerie also meets Maurice Girodias, the publisher of Olympia Press. While Valerie wants Warhol to produce her play, Up Your Ass, Girodias wants her to write a pornographic novel for him. Once she signs a contract with Girodias, she comes to suspect his offer is not a generous one and may not be in her best interest. She comes to regret signing this contract. At this point, her increasing derangement leads her to believe that Warhol and Girodias are controlling her. The film concludes, where it began, with Solanas' attempted murder of Warhol. The film then steps ten years into the future, where Warhol lives in fear the rest of his life that Valerie will strike again while he continues his life up until his death, and in death Valerie's "pornographic" novel was the SCUM manifesto.

Cast[edit]

Background[edit]

Initially intended as a BBC documentary, the film was directed by Mary Harron who also co-wrote the screenplay with Daniel Minahan.[5]

Dr. Dana Heller, professor of English at the Old Dominion University, argues that the film stages the conflict between Solanas and Warhol as less the result of gender politics – particularly because Solanas intended no connection between her writing and the shooting – than of the decline of print culture as represented by Solanas and the rise of new non-writing media as embodied by Warhol and the Pop art movement.[6] In the screenplay, Harron and Minahan describe Solanas as "banging at an ancient typewriter" and the film frequently shows her typing, for which she is mocked by Warhol and other Factory regulars. Solanas' writing is set against the new technologies of reproduction championed by Warhol.[7]

Many people who knew Solanas and Warhol tried to rationalize the shooting. Stephen Koch, who in 1973 wrote a study of Warhol's film, stated: "Valerie lives in terror of dependence: That is what the SCUM Manifesto is about, an absolute terror before the experience of need. Like Warhol, Solanas is obsessed with an image of autonomy, except that... she has played the obsession desperately, rather than with Warhol's famous cool."[8]

Reception[edit]

Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 78% of critics gave the film positive reviews.[9] On Metacritic it has a weighted score of 75/100, based on 20 critics, which it ranks as "Generally favorable reviews".[10]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Wins[edit]

Nominations[edit]

Home media[edit]

I Shot Andy Warhol was released on Region 1 DVD on January 23, 2001.

Soundtrack[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ I Shot Andy Warhol at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116594/
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: I Shot Andy Warhol". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  4. ^ "Berlinale 2016: Panorama Celebrates Teddy Award's 30th Anniversary and Announces First Titles in Programme". Berlinale. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
  5. ^ Heller 2008, p. 151.
  6. ^ Heller 2008, pp. 152–157.
  7. ^ Heller 2008, pp. 155–156.
  8. ^ Harron, I Shot Andy Warhol,Grove Press NY, 1995
  9. ^ "I Shot Andy Warhol" at Rotten Tomatoes
  10. ^ "I Shot Andy Warhol" at Metacritic

Bibliography[edit]

  • Heller, Dana (2008). "Shooting Solanas: Radical Feminist History and the Technology of Failure". In Hesford, Victoria; Diedrich, Lisa. Feminist Time Against Nation Time: Gender, Politics, and the Nation-State in an Age of Permanent War. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. ISBN 978-0-7391-1123-9.

External links[edit]