Superstar [1999]

This documentary by Academy Award winner Chuck Workman does a fine job of capturing the life and legend of Andy Warhol. News coverage of his untimely death, as seen on television stations in his hometown of Pittsburgh, sets the stage for interviews with the artist's brother and cousins, who show off vintage family photos and talk wistfully of Andy's early life as Andrew Warhola. People who worked with him throughout his career as commercial artist, pop art superstar, underground filmmaker, and celebrity about town appear and provide interviews that are honest, insightful, and frequently hilarious. In a wry aside, Campbell's Soup executives comment on Warhol's famous paintings of the soup cans, which puzzled everyone but came to be regarded as art. The film is brilliantly put together so that the atmosphere of Warhol's life is deftly captured. Though he relentlessly threw himself into the public spotlight (he's even seen appearing in an episode of The Love Boat), Warhol was always something of a mystery. Was he a great artist or a great con man? People who saw him on a daily basis talk about how they were both fascinated and baffled by him. This is an intelligent and witty look at Warhol's unlikely life. The DVD features a "director's commentary" soundtrack that can be turned on to hear Workman speak about some of the material in the film. --Robert J. McNamara

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