Have spent 2 nights with this DVD, Chelsea Walls, watching, breathing, drinking in the colors, atmosphere, poetry, and angst of the characters. I even watched it all the way through a second time with the Ethan Hawke Commentary. Then I emerge to find that most reviews of the film go something like these:
“Perhaps the worst-looking film shot on DV to yet see commercial release, the blurry, smudgy and downright crummy visuals only create an additional roadblock to understanding or caring for its characters.” L.A. Times
“Ethan Hawke’s film, a boring, pretentious waste of nearly two hours, doesn’t tell you anything except that the Chelsea Hotel today is populated by whiny, pathetic, starving and untalented artistes.” Des Moines Register
There are a handful of critics who appreciated the film (thank you Ebert and Roeper), but for the most part, reviewers were bored out of their minds.
So I ask myself, is it the film that I love, or the image of myself watching, lights out, rocking chair, blanketed and headphoned so that the voices and music feel like they’re streaming out of my own brain? The colors, the music, the grainy textures, rough edges. A gorgeous painting of nothing. The ultimate futility of all our best and worst efforts. It sees that. It’s about that. It’s about a certain desperate narcissism that I can understand. A longing to be more. To express. To make meaning. To mean something. When deep down you know that this is all there is. Man, what am I saying?
I’m saying that I get it. It touches me because I’ve been there. And because its messy visual and musical aesthetic is one that resonates with me. What else is there to say?
It’s cold in here. It’s time for bed.