Harlot | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Harlot 

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Andy Warhol's first sync sound film (1964) is not for action fans, but this nearly static 70-minute tableau of four actors lounging on and around the famous Factory couch is perversely endearing. Though Warhol used a sound camera, none of the actors speaks; improvised commentary is provided by three offscreen men, including playwright Ronald Tavel in the first of many collaborations with Warhol. The fixed, microscopelike high-angle shot articulates Warhol's passive-aggressive cruelty, but at the same time there's an almost sculptural beauty to the compositions. As the "harlot" (Mario Montez in Jean Harlow drag) takes bananas from her purse and the woman beside her pets a cat, a voice suggests inserting a banana into the "pussy"; soon the dialogue grows nuttier with references to "the banana cloud" and "jealous banana trees." Univ. of Chicago Film Studies Center, 5811 S. Ellis, Friday, February 20, 7:00, 773-702-8596.

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