Undoubtedly, Warhol’s most successful essays in the film medium, ‘Screen Tests’, represent an elegiac exposure of human vulnerability, albeit camped by Edie Sedgwick, and Dennis Hopper. Lou Reed seems genuinely flummoxed however, a victim if ever, of being famous for five minutes.
Given the monochromatic grain of history, these brief sequences carry their own inherent relevance beyond time. Warhol creates a challenging kind of ennui – like the boredom of being in church. Mysticism seems close at hand. With the forthcoming Tate Modern retrospective of Warhol, scans in the 21st century may reveal an unbecoming religiosity about Warhol, a practising Roman Catholic. Celebrants from Warhol’s memorial service at St Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, came to terms with it; this century, so should we all: ‘Screen Tests’ is beautiful, and worth the boredom.