Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Absolut Warhola (2001)

Stanislaw Mucha

Absolute Warhola is a wry but affectionate look at the village in Slovakia where Andy Warhol's parents were born and which proudly claims the artist as its native son. This is not a purist's documentary. The seasons shift inexplicably. The pace feels a bit aimless. It contains no useful information about Warhol nor his work. Instead of cinematic orthodoxy, however, Absolut Warhola offers the quirky poignancy of a documentary on the Cargo Cult, combined with a bizarre juxtaposition that perhaps would be found in a Lawrence Welk special on Abstract Expressionism. The filmmakers visit Warhol's cousin who recalls, at one point, how Andy sent them a pack of drawings and paintings which they didn't much care for, so they rolled some up to use as paper cones and pitched the others into the water after the house was flooded. The curator of the Warhola Museum explains how he chose the works to be included in the collection primarily on the basis of their relevance to the local community: cows, butterflies, Lenin, and Ingrid Bergman as a nun. The touching absurdity of his discourse is rivaled only by David St. Hubbins' explanation in Spinal Tap as to why the amplifier whose dial goes up to eleven is better than the ones that only go to ten. Absolut Warhola may not be a textbook work of documentary filmmaking, but it presents a consistent vision of people whose lives under the shadow of Chernobyl are somehow brightened by the memory of a man they never knew nor remotely understood.


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  1. Truly weird documentary, I know I'll never forget it. They seemed like a really hard working nice people btw, the kind of people you'd just respect a lot and not know why.

  2. Glad to see you have Absolut Warhola posted! One of the best docs I have seen in recent years, just so engaging on so many levels...this is the film to watch when you need to remind yourself just how wonderful human beings can be!


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