Blowjob (1964)

Last week I had the privilege of watching Andy Warhol’s Blowjob at the alternative cinema screening. The film consists on one 36 minute long monochrome close up shot of a man sitting against a brick wall. Throughout the film the gestures and facial expressions of the man suggest that there is someone below the frame performing a certain act. This underground film is fascinating because its prolonged minimalism forces you to observe and study the minute details of the man. The minimalism also tends to have a teasing quality in the film. During the entire film the audience has to wonder what is actually going on. Is the camera going to move at all? Is there actually someone below the frame carrying out this act? Is that person a woman or a man? What is this film about? During the 60s when this was made, not only was a “blowjob” a taboo subject, but the possibility of it being a homosexual act done onscreen would have been outrageous. Because this film is so minimalist, it offers a wide variety of interpretations. Whatever they may be, sexuality and gender are certainly to linger in the audience’s mind after viewing this film. By self censoring such a taboo subject onscreen, Warhol triggers thoughts into the minds of the audience to about the socially constructed discourse of sex and sexuality at that time.