Film Fest Gent: Dreaming Walls: Inside The Chelsea Hotel

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Just before the iconic Chelsea Hotel gets a thorough facelift, documentary makers Maya Duverdier and Amélie van Elmbt delve into the past of this symbol of sixties counterculture.

Built between 1883 and 1885, the Chelsea Hotel is one of the most famous buildings in New York City, if not in the world. There, Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, Sid Vicious's girlfriend Nancy was found stabbed to death, and it proved to be a magnet for imaginative artistic talent such as Jim Morrison. In 2019, documentary filmmakers Maya Duverdier and Amélie van Elmbt travelled to the iconic hotel. Before it transforms into a luxurious hotel, they wanted to talk to some of the residents who keep the hotel's rebellious artistic spirit alive until its last gasp. The result is an oral history that sketches life in the hotel in diverse anecdotes. The tenant of Janis Joplin's suite, for example, has even kept one of musician's soaps. "She probably never used it anyway, for what I know of her."

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