October 2, 2009
Studio: Aliquot Films
Director: Abel Ferrara
MPAA Rating: N/A
Screenwriters: Abel Ferrara, David Linter
Starring: Milos Forman, Ethan Hawke, Dennis Hopper, R. Crumb
Abel Ferrara's "Chelsea on the Rocks" is a fascinating, freewheeling personal journey inside the walls, history and mythology of Manhattan's celebrated bohemian landmark, The Chelsea Hotel. Since 1883, The Chelsea Hotel has been a home to artists great and small, from icons such as Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Tennessee Williams, Charles Bukowski, Andy Warhol, and Mark Twain, to assorted aspirants, junkies, prostitutes, and hermits. But new management has begun evicting boho tenants in favor of a more upscale crowd, prompting long-time resident – and consummate New Yorker – Ferrara to capture the ragged splendor of the place before its unique spirit is lost forever. Trolling the low-lit halls, visiting the hotel's cast of memorable characters and raconteurs, and hanging out in the gallery-like lobby strewn with tenants' paintings, "Chelsea on the Rocks" is shot through with an infectious brio, gallows humor and a hard-knock warmth to match its uniquely beloved subject. As yet another of New York's cultural landmarks threatens to effectively vanish for the sake of a bland corporate status quo, Ferrara passionately shows how it's often the misfit structures – and dwellers – that possess a city’s soul.