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USA, 1996 (MIFF 1996, Contemporary World Cinema )

Director: Mary Harron

A riveting portrait of Valerie Solanas, the woman who shot Andy Warhol. A radical lesbian and destitute writer. Solanas gained access to Warhol's bizarre world hoping that he would produce her play. Up Your Ass. When the zoned-out Factory crowd rejected her and her work, Solanas developed paranoid fantasies that Warhol and his cohorts were conspiring against her, leading to the now legendary shooting.

Harron weaves Solanas' story into the fabric of the heady sixties New York scene, focusing on the ensemble of "superstars", sycophants and hangers-on that frequented Andy Warhol's studio. The self conscious decadence of the Factory is vividly recreated as Gerard Malanga does his whip dance in front of the Velvet Underground or a topless Brigid Polk sorts out pills on the studio floor. Nonetheless the film rides on Lili Taylor's stupendous performance as the infamous Solanas. author of the S.C. U. M (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto She emerges as a complex figure, an endearing hustler and a self promoter with dark obsessions.

Warhol himself was the ultimate documentarian and Harron draws upon this rich source of original material as well as the first hand accounts of those involved in the Factory scene to recreate the mood and the look of the time.

Solanas' own 15 minutes were to come much later when the S C U M Manifesto eventually became recognised as a key text in the radical feminist movement. Unlike it's author or Warhol, it's still around today.

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