For some a primary source document of the 1960s, for others a transcendental viewing experience, CIAO! MANHATTAN is a fascinating yet unsettling peek at the final drugged-out days of famed heiress and Andy Warhol Factory muse Edie Sedgwick. Ostensibly a dramatic feature in which the actors play themselves, shot by two underground filmmakers in 1967 (black-and-white) and 1970 (color), this cult film is now best remembered as Edie's last screen appearance, well after her 15 minutes of fame had elapsed.
The film also features Warhol Factory luminaries Paul America, Viva, Brigid Berlin, and Baby Jane Holzer; Texan hitchhiker Wesley Hayes and veteran Hollywood movie star Isabel Jewell (LOST HORIZONS, GONE WITH THE WIND) in her final screen role, as well as cameos by French directors Roger Vadim & Christian Marquand and Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. CIAO! MANHATTAN parallels Edie's glory days, her inevitable downfall and the tragic addiction that would take her life only weeks after filming wrapped. The film serves as a bold and vivid examination of both her eccentric lifestyle and her enduring legacy.
Filmmaker David Weisman recently discovered over 30 hours of pristine 35mm outtake footage from the film, believed lost for decades. The DVD will feature selections from this astounding trove of archival material, including rare glimpses of Edie -- making her entrance into the legendary Max's Kansas City, shopping at Paraphernalia with Uma Thurman's mom Nena, and chatting with Allen Ginsberg amid thousands of flower-children at the first "Be-In" in Central Park on Easter Sunday 1967.
"CIAO! MANHATTAN is a devastating chronicle a clef about the short, sad, raucous life of Edie Sedgwick, in which the bizarre tensions underlying the American Experience and the American Vernacular are exquisitely matched, and arrive at a fitting terminus -- a scramble of apocalyptic laughter and satanic derangement. It is further heightened by a historical dimension: the aura of some sort of white-coat futuristic fascism bubbling around its edges, not the fascism of the jackboot, but the fascism of shrinks & sanatoria, drugs & doctors, including as well the more sinister incursions of blue-denim henchmen and crackpot billionaires." - R. Mazzocco, New York Review of Books
"The 'Citizen Kane' of the Drug Generation." - Village Voice