1957. The Latin Quarter, Paris. A cheap no-name hotel becomes a haven for a new breed of artists fleeing the conformity and censorship of America. Called the Beat Hotel, it soon became an epicenter of the Beat generation. Alan Govenar’s feature documentary delves deep into this amazing place and time.
Fleeing the obscenity trials surrounding the publication of 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 Madame Rachou, the Beat Hotel was a hot bed of creativity and permissiveness, where Burroughs finished Naked Lunch; Ginsberg began his poem Kaddish; Somerville and Gysin invented the Dream Machine; Corso wrote some of his greatest poems; and Harold Norse wrote a novella, aptly called The Beat Hotel.
British photograher Harold Chapman's iconic photos and Scottish artist Elliot Rudie's drawings, interwoven with firsthand accounts, capture the Beats just as they were beginning to establish themselves, and bring The Beat Hotel to life.