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The Beat Hotel2012

  • 4.2
1957. The Latin Quarter, Paris. A cheap no-name hotel became a haven for a new breed of artists fleeing the conformity and censorship of America. The hotel soon turned into an epicenter of Beat writing that produced some of the most important works of the Beat generation. It came to be known as the Beat Hotel. Alan Govenar’s feature documentary THE BEAT HOTEL explores this amazing place and time. Fleeing the obscenity trials surrounding the publication of his seminal poem Howl, Allen Ginsberg, along with Peter Orlovsky and Gregory Corso, happened upon the hotel on rue Git le Coeur and were soon joined by William Burroughs, Ian Somerville, and Brion Gysin. Run by the indefatigable Madame Rachou, the Beat Hotel was a hotbed of creativity and permissiveness, where Burroughs and Gysin developed the cut-up writing method; Burroughs finished his controversial book Naked Lunch; Ginsberg began his poem Kaddish; Somerville and Gysin invented the Dream Machine; Corso wrote some of his greatest poems; and Harold Norse, in his own cut-up experiments, wrote a novella, aptly called The Beat Hotel. British photographer Harold Chapman’s iconic photos and Scottish artist Elliot Rudie’s animated drawings, interwoven with the firsthand accounts of French artists Jean-Jacques Lebel, British book dealer Cyclops Lester, and 95 year old George Whitman, capture the Beats just as they were beginning to establish themselves on the international scene and bring The Beat Hotel to life on the screen.

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2 members like this review

This film transformed me. Now I'm just hanging from the ceiling thinking beat bat thoughts, wondering if I could ever support a second pair of shoulders. I will never again eat anything bigger than my head nor hypnotize a chicken without first obtaining either a court order or a certification of my own authenticity signed by a reputable auditor of pregnant pauses, vacant looks and words that mean the nothing those vacant looks miss forever, grieving the loss of something neither found nor named nor even nakedly desired.

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Member Reviews (10)

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top reviewer

This film transformed me. Now I'm just hanging from the ceiling thinking beat bat thoughts, wondering if I could ever support a second pair of shoulders. I will never again eat anything bigger than my head nor hypnotize a chicken without first obtaining either a court order or a certification of my own authenticity signed by a reputable auditor of pregnant pauses, vacant looks and words that mean the nothing those vacant looks miss forever, grieving the loss of something neither found nor named nor even nakedly desired.

2 members like this review

Absolutely fascinating. It filled in many hole in my historical knowledge of the period, and, although it drew heavily from its most famous residents, Burroughs and Ginsberg, it introduced me to the perfectly stunning photography of Harold Chapman.

2 members like this review
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really super_great to know all of this_great history & energy

A good film if you have interest in the "Beats" from the 50s. Seems like everyone except Kerouac stayed there. Best aspect of the film were the photos taken by one of the residents, a photographer who supplied enough interesting photographs from the hotel's heyday to make the stories come alive for the viewer.

am reading book of the same by Barry Miles, this brings it all to life, excellent!

Great memories.

Really very good. You will wish you were there!

After watching this film, I wanted to travel back in time to hang out with all cool artists and writers in Beat Hotel!! Brilliant.

VERY WELL DONE!

Very nice.