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Hôtel Monterey (1972)

6.2
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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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Title: Hôtel Monterey (1972)

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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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Different but Very Interesting and Surreal
7 May 2011 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Hotel Monterey (1972)

*** (out of 4)

I'll admit that I had never heard of this Belgium film before it showed up on the wee hours of the morning on Turner Classic Movies. Even the plot description on my cable service was blank, which is just about right because there's very little "story" in this fascinating documentary. For 63-minutes director Akerman films various aspects of a New York hotel. We get footage of some of the people staying there. Other footage of the hallways as well as a few looks at the rooms there. You might wonder how on Earth any of this is entertaining and half way through the film I started to ask myself why I was so drawn into what I was watching considering there wasn't really anything to watch. There's no even anything to listen to as the film was shot silent so there's no dialogue, no score, nothing. I think what makes the film so entertaining is that you normally watch a movie and wait for the next thing to happen. This happens over and over until the movie is over yet that's not what happens here because you see a single image for fifteen to ninety-seconds and then it just goes to another random image. I think this works because while you're watching and studying one of these images your brain is pretty much preparing you for "what's going to happen next" but when that next thing happens your brain pretty much has to start over with studying the image and again going into the "what's going to happen" mode. I thought the film was extremely entertaining, although I'm sure most are going to grow bored within a matter of minutes. If someone did turn this off after a few minutes I can't say I'd blame them as this isn't a mass appeal movie. I think the ones I'd recommend this to the most are fans of Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING because it's clear this movie was a major influence on that 1980 masterpiece. There are several tracking shots of the camera going down the halls and around corners, which of course was a major aspect of the Kubrick film. There's also a few shots of the elevators that will remind people of the Kubrick film and just check out how some of the people are shot and again you'll think of THE SHINING.


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