Hotel Monterey is a cheap hotel in New York reserved for the outcasts of American society. Chantal Akerman invites viewers to visit this unusual place as wall as the people who live there, from the reception up to the last story.

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Storyline

New York City's Monterey is a residence hotel; the residents we see are older, most live alone. The camera, usually stationery, begins with a look into the lobby. The film ends with a panorama from the hotel's rooftop. There's no soundtrack. The lobby is clean with granite floors. Men wear hats. People enter and exit an elevator. The camera looks out from within the elevator as doors open and close. People sit alone and motionless in their apartments. There are long shots of empty halls. Paint peels. The flooring on upper levels is linoleum. Hall lights are florescent. Doors open a crack then close. The film provides the feeling of what it's like to live there. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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11 July 1989 (USA)  »

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Award: Prix de la Recherche au Festival du Jeune Cinéma de Toulon. See more »

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Fascinating, unique experimental documentary
29 May 2010 | by (US) – See all my reviews

Chantal Akerman is arguably the most important and interesting female director of her era, yet she is sadly under-known here in the U.S. The range of her work is astounding, from largely experimental 'difficult' works like this, to frothy musical-comedy, and just about everything in between. Even if you don't respond to this film, you may well like other things she has done.

Hotel Monterey is an experimental silent 60 minute 'documentary' set in a cheap NY hotel. No story, just images that cross the sadness of Edward Hopper's paintings with the weirdness of David Lynch (who seems to have been influenced by this). It's like a great photo book come to life. It has a fascinating look (very grainy 16mm, with super rich colors). No question that by nature this feels dull in spots and some images are less powerful or repetitive, but its full of wonderful, disquieting moments, and it has a fascinating, hypnotic almost imperceptible build to a 'climax'. If nothing else, the film is worth it for the simple power of the moment when the camera starts to move after 30 minutes of still images.


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