×

Pie in the Sky: The Brigid Berlin Story

The life and times of Brigid Berlin, the socialite who became an actress in Andy Warhol films, is examined in this occasionally amusing but also rather sad documentary. There are reasonable prospects for theatrical runs in major North American cities, but elsewhere item will be restricted to festival screenings and video release, where it could achieve cult status.

With:
With: Brigid Berlin, John Waters, Patty Hearst, Paul Morrissey, Taylor Mead, Larry Rivers, Richard Bernstein, Bob Colacello.

The life and times of Brigid Berlin, the socialite who became an actress in Andy Warhol films, is examined in this occasionally amusing but also rather sad documentary. There are reasonable prospects for theatrical runs in major North American cities, but elsewhere item will be restricted to festival screenings and video release, where it could achieve cult status.

Now 60 years old, Berlin is filmed in her cluttered New York apartment where she lives with her pug dogs. She recalls her life with her wealthy parents, Richard and Honey Berlin. Her father was head of the Hearst Corp., and a right-wing Republican whose close friends included Richard Nixon, Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover. Her mother was a fixture of the East Coast social whirl, a contemporary of Diana Vreeland.

Berlin rebelled from the start. After an early, brief marriage and a stint at a fasting clinic in Mexico (she has long had a problem with her weight), she wound up in Greenvich Village as one of the hangers-on at Andy Warhol’s Factory. Soon she was famous for her Polaroid snapshots and her habit of taping telephone conversations, recordings she still has.

She appeared as Duchess, the lesbian drug dealer, in “The Chelsea Girls” and also had roles in “Bike Boys” and “Imitation of Christ.” Not surprisingly, her activities alienated her parents.

Notable among the interviewees is John Waters, who claims Berlin was “always my favorite Warhol star” and who gave her a small role in “Serial Mom.” Berlin, who in some scenes in the docu is on a strict diet and looks quite slim, while in others has obviously succumbed to her favorite dish, key lime pie and whipped cream, talks frankly about her life and does sharp imitations of her mother and Warhol. She recalls that when she had a one-woman stage show, she would call her mother and have the conversation amplified for the benefit of the audience.

Warhol is heard via some of Berlin’s many tapes. She also shows the book she kept back then in which celebrities, among them Jane Fonda, Leonard Cohen and Dennis Hopper, drew penises for her. She’s seen, in archival material, topless, working on what she called her “tit paintings,” covering her breasts with paint and pressing them on sheets of paper; Waters is glimpsed as the recipient of one such work of art.

Co-director/producer Vincent Fremont was VP of Andy Warhol Enterprises for a while, and the access to Warhol material and ephemera enhances this portrait. Still feisty, the obsessively neat Berlin comes across as a rather sad character despite her colorful and provocative life.

Pie in the Sky: The Brigid Berlin Story

Production: A Vincent Fremont Enterprises production. Produced, directed by Vincent Fremont, Shelly Dunn Fremont.

Crew: Camera (color), Vic Losick; editor, Michael Levine; music, Chris Stein; sound, Tony Pettine, Jose Torres, David Ryan; associate producer, Amy DiPasquale. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (New Territories), Sept. 8, 2000. Running time: 75 MIN.

With: With: Brigid Berlin, John Waters, Patty Hearst, Paul Morrissey, Taylor Mead, Larry Rivers, Richard Bernstein, Bob Colacello.

More Film

  • Durban Film Festival 2019 / Copyright

    South African Creatives Grapple Over Copyright Amendment Bill

    DURBAN–The South African government is planning to update its four-decade-old copyright legislation, but what that means for filmmakers was up for debate during a contentious and often heated session at the Durban FilmMart this week. While the Copyright Amendment Bill awaits the signature of President Cyril Ramaphosa, industry stakeholders remain divided over how the proposed [...]

  • 'The Lion King' Ruling Box Office

    'The Lion King' Ruling Box Office With Dazzling Debut at $180 Million

    Disney’s “The Lion King” has jolted the North American box office back to life with an opening weekend in the $180 million range, estimates showed Saturday. “The Lion King” will record the second-best opening of 2019 — and could replace “Incredibles 2,” which launched last year with $182.7 million, as the ninth biggest North American [...]

  • 'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in

    'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in Hospital After Stabbing

    Hugely popular Hong Kong actor, Simon Yam was stabbed while on stage Saturday at a presentation in Zhongshan, Guangdong province in southern China. He is in hospital recovering. The incident happened at the opening of a branch of the Beijing Easyhome building materials company, where Yam was a guest. A man was seen rushing on [...]

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolosnaro attends the

    Bolsonaro Threatens Brazil’s Central Film Fund with Censorship or Closure

    In typical shoot-from-the-hip remarks, Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has declared that Ancine, Brazil’s powerful state-backed federal film agency, should accept “filters”or face closure. “If it can’t have a filter, we’ll close Ancine, or privatize it,” Bolsonaro added, attacking Ancine, which plows some $300 million a year into Brazil’s film and TV industries, for supporting [...]

  • TSOM-MASK

    Director Sara Gouveia on ‘Looking At Resilience Through Art’

    DURBAN–The Mapiko dance of Mozambique’s indigenous Makonde people was long used as a tool for social commentary. But during the colonial era it became an act of political resistance, prompting the Portuguese to stamp it out during Mozambique’s 10-year war for independence. Decades later, the art has been revived as a celebration of freedom. For [...]

  • Don Edkins

    Documentary Filmmaker Don Edkins on ‘Creating an African Voice’ 

    DURBAN–For the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry program of the Durban Intl. Film Festival, a new strand was created to look at the unique challenges and opportunities facing documentary filmmakers in Africa. The two-day program, Durban Does Docs, offers a series of conversations, seminars and workshops with an intensive focus on the aesthetics, funding, distribution [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content