CIAO! MANHATTAN parallels Andy Warhol Factory star Edie Sedgwick's glory days in the late 1960s through her inevitable downfall and the tragic addiction that would take her life only weeks after filming wrapped in 1971.
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A beautiful, wealthy young party girl drops out of Radcliffe in 1965 and heads to New York to become Holly Golightly. When she meets a hungry young artist named Andy Warhol, he promises to make her the star she always wanted to be. And like a super nova she explodes on the New York scene only to find herself slowly lose grip on reality...Written by
Just in case you read some of the rather hysterical comments and garner the impression that it's supposed to be about real people, it's not. Andy Warhol was never a real person, just a performance.
Guy Pearce presents Andy Warhol as the superficial creature he undoubtedly was. The original art-as-business creator, the very God at whose altar such modern day charlatans as Damien Hirst worship. Pearce's performance is riveting, his Andy Warhol is as empty as his crapulous art; just a two-dimensional diagram of someone who leaves no shadow. A cartoon.
Sienna Miller's performance as Edie Sedgewick is the best thing she's ever done. Caught in the strobe lights of Warhol's strangely sterile world of non-sexual sex and sofas still in their plastic wrappers, Edie becomes the focus of his short attention span for a while. She flashes across the screen like a speeded up Holly Golighty, while Warhol's voyeuristic viewfinder traps her in it's leering stare. The camera loves her and so does Warhol. But we know it's going to end in tears.
Nothing in the movie has much depth, none of the characters are developed beyond what we already know about them and the whole sixties New York scene is represented by a series of iconic "things". The Chelsea Hotel, the Velvet Underground, a soundtrack of songs that sound right but which actually don't fit at all. For instance, "Leavin' here" by The Birds, a British group in which Ronnie Wood was the guitarist, was recorded in 1966 but was never released in America. However, there it is on the soundtrack being played in the factory sometime in 1965.
But no matter.
The movie pretty much captures the shallow, transient and utterly facile world of Warhol in the sixties and in another way it sums up the emptiness and tragedy of the Hollywood dream machine too. But it doesn't ask any deep questions nor does it pretend to be something it's not. It's entertaining and worth watching for two very good performances by Guy Pearce and Sienna Miller.
It's not art, it's just a movie, albeit a superficial one.
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