Chelsea On The Rocks

USA 2008
Director: Abel Ferrara
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Grace Jones, Dennis Hopper

89 Min. | OV


Abel Ferrara is the infamous enfant terrible of underground cinema. In this film he pays homage to the legendary Chelsea Hotel, the place where New York artists and lost souls meet and which has spawned countless legends.
Ferrara tells the story of the hotel in the most poetic fashion, concentrated and intensive like in his very early films. He gets the old inhabitants of the hotel to share their tales, but he also has famous faces like Ethan Hawke, Dennis Hopper or Milos Forman recollect their memories of the legendary happenings and events at the hotel. They also act out some of the scenes that took place, like Andy Warhol’s parties or Bob Dylan’s performances and even the mysterious events leading to the double death of Nancy Sprungen and Sid Vicious. Everything is touched by a morbid sense of loss, but through this feeling the magical aura of the place is made palpable. Ferrara links these feelings with criticism of today’s society, which demands more and more uniformity, control and order. Chelsea Hotel is the victim of this development as it is remade into a tourist attraction and the old residents are forced out. The brave new world has no place left for the differently thinking and feeling ones. In a way this film is about two legends who seem lost in time: The hotel and Ferrara himself.