In Bruno’s recitation on February 8th we discussed many of the films that we watched in class the day before. First we started to discuss Andy Warhol’s film Chelsea Girls, set in the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. This film was unlike anything I had ever seen, and being a big fan of everything Andy Warhol, I really enjoyed it. The film is so different and radical that it strikes you deeply and lets you feel the intensity of the film. The split screen affects ones viewing extremely and deeply. This affected me greatly, and I found that the juxtaposition between dark and light to be truly unlike anything I had ever seen. In class we discussed the film’s ethics, in regard to ethics the film could be compared to video journalism or even documentary filmmaking. During the course of the film, one of the girls is hit by another member of the cast, this was very radical and raised a lot of questions for us. Some of the questions that we asked each other were; when is it appropriate for the crew behind the camera to step in? What is too radical?, or even dangerous?
I believe that the films that we watched in class including Chelsea Girls and some of Andy Warhol’s other films are sometimes regarded in high esteem and are also analyzed today because no one had created anything remotely similar to these films. Warhol and others were the innovators and pioneers of this type of counter-culture film, and its extremity is so severe that regardless of the difficulties in creating these films, he was the first to do it, and that is what made it so special.
After discussing these films we did a short recollection of the historical context of the films Head and Easy Rider. We discussed the murders and assassination of the sixties, the Vietnam War, riots, student protests, including Berkley, and the flower power and drug culture movement.
After this a student talked about the Peter Biskind article, the discussion of the article enhanced our viewing greatly when we watched the acid trip scene from Easy Rider, the scene uses no special effects, and only acting and camera angles to display the trip. The scene was highly interesting and I believe some of the characters were actually tripping on acid, it scared me, and made me never want to try acid This scene was so different from anything that I had ever seen and really struck me deeply.
At the end of the class we watched a scene from Head where the main character of the film sung “Daddy’s Song”, again we dealt with two different camera shots like Warhol’s Chelsea Girls, and also light and dark, I found the switching of the black and white to be very interesting . I still do not really see the full purpose of the film but I found it to be bizarre and entertaining nonetheless. The class discussion was very invigorating and I found myself listening intently to the discussion, I learned a great deal at that time.