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Andy Warhol's Titanic

introduced by Alan Benson

In 1964, shortly after the blockbuster success of his mega-epic "Empire" — an eight-hour movie consisting of a single shot of the Empire State Building — the great pop artist embarked on what would be his most experimental, most groundbreaking film to date. Andy had a vision of recreating one of the great tragedies of the modern era, the sinking of the Titanic.

The Warholian version of the Titanic story was not an adventure tale or romance, but a meditation on the passage of time. He planned to place a camera at the front of the ship, overlooking the unused upper foredeck, and to chronicle the great ship's sinking via this single shot.

This massive undertaking had a massive running time; Warhol told friends he wanted it to run at least three days. And, in another brilliant stroke, he planned to filter the shot in such a way as to make it appear to be a cheap vector animation. "If we could somehow combine the TV and the typewriter, I would love to show my movie on that," he reportedly said.

Tragically, Andy was never able to finish the project. Funding was scarce, and the mercurial Warhol focused his energies on the Velvet Underground. But now, thanks to the latest in RetroAnimation, the Van Gogh-Goghs can show you the film the way it was meant to be seen. So grab some popcorn, get comfortable, and clear three days out of your schedule for Andy Warhol's Titanic. (Oh, and as an added bonus for those who watch the whole thing, there's nudity at the end.)

© copyright 2000 The Van Gogh-Goghs