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The Reeler Blog

Williams Walks into Theaters

Danny Willams, in close-up this week at Cinema Village (Photo: The Andy Warhol Museum)

By S.T. VanAirsdale

Esther Robinson's documentary A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory rolls into Cinema Village today after a well-received international festival tour. Chronicling its titular subject's (who happens to be Robinson's uncle) relationship with ex-lover Andy Warhol and his mysterious disappearance in 1966, Walk got a couple of looks from The Reeler during its premiere run earlier this year at Tribeca. First up was Jennifer Merin's interview with Robinson herself, who discussed juggling the emotional and factual dynamics of her directorial debut:

JM: Was making the film a personal healing for you and your family?

ER: Yes, but not in the traditional way you’d think. I realized that the movie comes to an end, but life continues. You have to make peace with the fact that you can’t fill in all the blanks. We still don’t know everything, and that’s not such an easy place to end the movie. But we have to go on. I’m proud of my family for overcoming their reluctance to examine their role in what happened. It’s also been healing for some of the people in the film -- people from the Factory.

JM: For whom specifically?

ER: For Brigid [Berlin], for example, who told me she‘s glad most people don’t remember the stories about what happened. Many of the Factory members feel that way -- things that happened weren’t things you could share with your family, especially because they were told in an untruthful way, as part of a fixed agenda. The people who participated in my film are happy it’s truthful.

Not long afterward, Reeler reviews editor Michelle Orange chimed in admiringly:

Robinson gets access to a host of Factory personalities, some of whom may be remembered from their last (albeit fictional) appearance in February’s Edie Sedgwick bio-hazard, Factory Girl. The problem is that no one seems to recall the young man from Massachusetts, further proof of the solipsistic, craven opportunism fueling Warhol’s so-called family. What people like Brigid Berlin recall in detail is the emotional politics raging within Warhol’s inner circle, and the disaffection that led most people to seek out entry. The jewel in Robinson’s documentary is a cache of previously unseen films shot by Williams, a budding filmmaker at the time, and editor of the first Maysles brothers film. Williams is shown to have a luminous, idiosyncratic eye, and in reeling through them, along with poking into her family’s omerta on the subject, Robinson crafts a fittingly oblique tribute to her uncle.

Robinson will be on hand for a Q&A at Cinema Village following the 7:20 shows tonight and Saturday; check out the film's Web site for more information.

Posted at December 14, 2007 11:24 AM

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