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“The Chelsea Girls”

IN 1966, ANDY WARHOL’S latest movie left the Film-Makers Cinémathèque to open in a “real” movie theater—the Regency at 72nd Street and Broadway—and the time had come at last, it was all up there in lights on the big marquee:

ANDY WARHOL’S

THE CHELSEA GIRLS

But though The Chelsea Girls was Warhol’s first strong step in his drive toward the big world of the feature film’s public—a drive which has grown more and more pronounced with each of his films since Flesh—it remains an experimental work, still tugging at the limits of the spectators’ perceptions, still operating within a certain modernist tradition from which Warhol has since been progressively withdrawing. Much can be said about what is gained and what is lost in this development. But it is not what has to be said about The Chelsea Girls.

For to enter the world of the feature film is to enter the world of imagined time, that arena where

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