Julian Pölsler’s The Wall and the Andy Warhol Museum
Julian Pölsler’s The Wall
I thoroughly enjoyed this muted, German-Austrian thriller/fantasy film about a woman who finds herself isolated by The Wall, an inexplicable, invisible barrier that keeps her from the outside world. The humor of the unnamed main character (played by Martina Gedeck) first banging against and then testing the wall gives way to horror and then meditation. As the heroine adapts to her extreme, alpine, magnificent cage, she muses on the nature of humanity, animals, and existence, and slips between feelings of solitude, loneliness, and existential suffering. Often voiceover narration in a movie can feel gimmicky, but the voiceover in The Wall was my favorite part; based on a novel by the Austrian writer Marlen Haushofer, the narration pries open the main character’s psychological depths without cliché. If you are a hardcore sci-fi lover, this film will probably disappoint you. But if you love Tarkovsky or Bergman or other intense psychological dramas, this film is a must.
—Nicola Fucigna, Fiction Editor
Andy Warhol Museum
Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten to know, and grown to love, Pittsburgh (my fiancé is from there). I love it for its hills and the simultaneous greenness and griminess, the quiet, the culture, the pizza (this likely comes as a big surprise to fellow New Yorkers, but the pizza is way better there), and the three rivers that meet in the middle, adorned with their many bridges. It took me nearly ten trips to finally visit the Andy Warhol Museum on the city’s North Side, but now I have one more reason to appreciate the city. The museum is huge—seven floors—and each part offers something different. Aside from the wonderful art and photo exhibits, there are also activities. An exhibit called “Silver Clouds,” allows you to frolic through a roomful of silver helium “pillows” floating about an empty space and blown around by a fan. Though instinct would have you (or at least me) punching or hitting these rectangular balloons (I was reprimanded by a security guard for kicking one as hard as I could), the fun part turned out to be running through and dodging them, contorting our bodies in various positions to avoid them. In another room, there is a series of screens suspended along the periphery, displaying a series of videos shot by Warhol (or depicting him)—dinner parties he attended, casual gathering with friends, a party with David Bowie, Warhol getting made up in drag. The videos in the room are a sight alone—each muted screen playing a different slice of Warhol’s life—but the ability to put on headphones and listen to what’s going on can suck you in for hours. My favorite was the “Warhol Screen Test,” where you sit before a camera for three minutes for a silent video “portrait.”
—Masha Udensiva-Brenner, Editor