Empire (1964 film)


Empire (1964 film)

"Empire" (1964) is a silent, black and white film made by Andy Warhol. It consists of eight hours and five minutes of continuous real time footage of the Empire State Building in New York City. Abridged showings of the film were never allowed, and supposedly the very unwatchability of the film was an important part of the reason the film was created. However, a legitimate Italian VHS produced in association with the Andy Warhol Museum in 2000 contains only a 60 min extract. Its use of the long take "in extremis" is an extension of Warhol's earlier work the previous year with "Sleep".

It was filmed on the night of July 25-26 from 8:06 p.m. to 2:42 a.m. from the 41st floor of the Time-Life Building, from the offices of the Rockefeller Foundation. It was shot at 24 frames per second but is projected at 16 fps, so that, even though only about 6 hours and 40 minutes of film was made, the film when screened is about 8 hours and 5 minutes long.

The film begins with a totally white screen and as the sun sets, the image of the Empire State Building emerges. The floodlights on its exterior come on, the building's lights flicker on and off for the next 6 1/2 hours, then the floodlights go off again in the next to the last reel so that the remainder of the film takes place in nearly total darkness [. cite book
last = Angell
first = Callie
year = 1994
title = The Films of Andy Warhol Part II
url = http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B0006P70ZM
pages = 16
id = ASIN B0006P70ZM
] The movie was filmed with Andy Warhol directing and flimmaker Jonas Mekas working as cinematographer. During three of the reel changes, filming recommenced before the lights in the filming room were switched off, making the faces of Warhol and Mekas momentarily visible in the reflection of the window each time. [http://nymag.com/nymetro/arts/art/10422/]

In 2004, "Empire" was added to the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress in recognition of the cultural, historical and aesthetic significance of the movie, as well as the risk of the original movie reel "no longer being preserved" (even though the Andy Warhol Museum's own preservation of the huge Warhol film/videotape catalogue is somewhat unique in the world of underground film).

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In 2005, the film was projected in its entirety on the wall of the Royal National Theatre in London.

References

External links

* [http://newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/arts/art/10422/ Article on unauthorized release]
* [http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?object_id=89507 Moma article]
* [http://www.warholstars.org/filmch/empire.html Article on Empire]
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