A film whose importance as a 1960s cultural statement outweighs any intrinsic value it may have as a film, CHELSEA GIRLS is nevertheless fascinating, provocative, and hilarious--once you surrender yourself to the totally new way of watching cinema that Andy Warhol films require. Think of
it as Antonioni in slow-motion and enjoy the heavy ennui that settles over you. As with most of his other films Warhol simply turned the camera on his camp followers and let them play as they might. A number of his mock-Hollywood "superstars" from the famous Factory crowd are actually born
performers. Look for strange and funny moments from Ondine, Ingrid Superstar, Brigid Polk, Ed Hood, Mario Montez, Edie Sedgwick and Nico among others.
CHELSEA GIRLS isn't an easy film to write about and is almost impossible to rank in terms of any "quality" it may possess. Maybe that's why we've given it four stars--because it's one of the purest expressions of how Warhol not only explodes the categories of what art is (remember the famous
Campbell's Soup can?) but also that he assaults in revolutionary fashion all the conventions we hold dear. CHELSEA GIRLS is historically notable for requiring two projectors operating side by side (not that the two separate films have any connection!) and for its popular success on the art house
circuit, which subsequently opened its doors to other "underground" films. While perhaps not as potent or as clever as more compact masterworks like VINYL, BLOW JOB, BEAUTY #2, MY HUSTLER, NUDE RESTAURANT and LONESOME COWBOYS, CHELSEA GIRLS is probably the ultimate summation of Warhol's cinema.
Check it out once... if you dare. leave a comment