Stifle that yawn. Vincent and Shelly Dunn Fremont's documentary about Warhol Factory fixture Brigid Berlin isn't simply another "Andy and me" memoir. This sleek and cleverly assembled film is a brutally honest portrait of an obsessive personality, a woman whose mania for control over her weight and the world around her fed her demons and fueled her art. Berlin the daughter of powerful, ultra-conservative Hearst Corporation chairman Richard Berlin and his socialite wife, Honey was born into the upper echelon of New York City society where, from a very young age, she ate with abandon. Her chic mother, embarrassed by her daughter's ballooning weight, had her hypnotized, put on speed and shipped off to a series of diet clinics. None of it worked: Brigid grew into an overweight, rebellious teenager. Then, after an early, ill-fated marriage to a gay window designer, Brigid met Andy. Renamed Brigid Polk (a sly reference to her affection for the syringe), she quickly became Warhol's confidant and, in a world of rail-thin fashion plates, an unlikely superstar who further tortured her conservative parents by appearing in such films as BIKE BOY and the infamous CHELSEA GIRLS. But as the film persuasively argues, Berlin was also an artist in her own right. Filling "trip books" with beautifully intricate, pointillist dots and circles, Berlin was driven by her compulsion to "get everything down" and obsessively snapped Polaroids and tape-recorded voices techniques Warhol would soon incorporate into his own art. The Fremonts mix fabulous footage from the Factory archives with contemporary interviews with Berlin who, at 60, is still wrestling with her demons. Though now svelte, she's still only "one bite away from a binge" and constantly battles the temptation to gorge on her favorite food: key lime pie. The material is sharply edited and imaginatively presented: In the film's creepiest sequence, the Fremonts mimic the CHELSEA GIRLS format by projecting Berlin's reel from that film alongside her own chilling impersonation of her scandalized mother. Adding to the ambiance is a warm and appropriately Velvet-y guitar soundtrack by Blondie's Chris Stein; Debbie Harry coos "All the Way" over the closing credits.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: NR
- Review: Stifle that yawn. Vincent and Shelly Dunn Fremont's documentary about Warhol Factory fixture Brigid Berlin isn't simply another "Andy and me" memoir. This sleek and cleverly assembled film is a brutally honest portrait of an obsessive personality, a woman… (more)