As a casual observer of the art world, I was aware of Andy Warhol and his most popular works. However, I was completely unaware of the films that he created. Andy Warhol made films which often featured his friends in common settings or simply sitting and looking at the camera. Warhol’s films, much like his other art are inspired by seemingly mundane objects or activities.
“Sleep” is a five hour and twenty minute film of a friend of Warhol’s sleeping nude. It is a silent film which alternates between several camera angels. This film really challenges the viewer not just because of the length but also the long stretches of time with no activity. Filming a still subject is common in Warhol’s films. The lack of movement seems boring if you think of it is a film but nobody accuses paintings of being boring for their lack of motion.
In another of his films, Warhol eats a hamburger. The film consists of him eating a Burger King value meal. Warhol has a particularly human moment in the beginning of the video where the Ketchup seems to be stuck inside of the bottle. His face breaks for just a moment before he resumes his serious character. This film also features several minutes of Warhol looking silently into the camera.
In modern cinema there is almost no silent film made. Silent films are more like paintings or photographs such that the viewer has to make up more of the story. In a normal film you are being guided through the story by the words the actors say. When Andy Warhol is looking at you while he eats a hamburger then the narrative is all your own.