IMDb > Hotel America (1981)

Hotel America (1981) More at IMDbPro »Hôtel des Amériques (original title)

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Hotel America -- In Biarritz, Hélène meets Gilles after a minor accident; the man falls desperately in love with her. Hélène, combining dazzling beauty and embarrassed silences, tries to escape his growing passion. Prisoner of a lost love, she nevertheless reveals her secret in the end...


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Release Date:
2 December 1981 (France) See more »
Hélène, a distracted pill-popping anesthetist, almost runs down Gilles one evening on a Biarritz street... See more » | Add synopsis »
2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
With sad round of drifters, Téchiné finds himself See more (4 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Catherine Deneuve ... Hélène

Patrick Dewaere ... Gilles Tisserand
Etienne Chicot ... Bernard
Sabine Haudepin ... Elise Tisserand
Dominique Lavanant ... Jacqueline

Josiane Balasko ... Colette
François Perrot ... Rudel
Jean-Louis Vitrac ... Luc
Frédérique Ruchaud ... La mère
Michèle Ban de Loménie ... La mère de colette
Pascal Bernuchon
Catherine Carrée
Gérard Deleris
Jacques Dichamp ... Le client de l'hôtel
Rosemary Linousy ... La clientèle inconnue

Jacques Nolot
Francine Rabas ... La caissière
Catherine Rethi
Claude Saubot
Michel Sauvage ... L'employé SNCF

Directed by
André Téchiné 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Gilles Taurand 
André Téchiné 

Produced by
Alain Sarde .... producer
Original Music by
Philippe Sarde 
Cinematography by
Bruno Nuytten 
Film Editing by
Claudine Merlin 
Production Design by
Jean-Pierre Kohut-Svelko 
Costume Design by
Christian Gasc 
Makeup Department
Jean-Pierre Berroyer .... hair stylist
Jacky Reynal .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Martine Alleton .... trainee unit manager
Michel d'Arcangues .... trainee unit manager
Bernard Debargue .... trainee unit manager
Christine Gozlan .... production manager
François Menny .... unit manager
Maryse Morel .... trainee unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Alain Centonze .... assistant director
Bruno François-Boucher .... trainee assistant director (as Bruno Boucher)
Charlotte Trench .... assistant director
Art Department
Pierre Gompertz .... assistant set designer
Geoffroy Larcher .... set dresser
Jean-Marie Selle .... set design trainee
Sound Department
Jocelyne Cartier-Stern .... post-synchro assistant (as Jocelyne Cartier Sterin)
Jean Duguet .... foley artist
Paul Lainé .... sound
Jean-Pierre Lelong .... foley artist
Jacques Lévy .... post-synchronisation
Jacques Maumont .... sound mixer
Mario Melchiorri .... foley artist
Michel Villain .... sound assistant
Camera and Electrical Department
Jean-Luc Bezeau .... grip
Bernard Brégier .... key grip
Gérard Buffard .... grip
Franck Coquet .... chief electrician
Gilbert Duhalde .... camera operator
Eugène Fabcic .... best boy
Alain Fillon .... gaffer
Idislawe Kielar .... assistant camera
Pascal Marti .... assistant camera
Christian Thurot .... best boy
Serge Valézy .... gaffer
Christian Weyers .... gaffer
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Christiane Fageol .... wardrober
Claire Fraisse .... assistant costumer
Editorial Department
Jeanne Kef .... trainee editor
Sylvie Quester .... assistant editor
Location Management
Jacques Delor .... location manager
Music Department
William Flageollet .... music engineer (uncredited)
Peter Knight .... orchestrator (uncredited)
London Symphony Orchestra .... orchestra (uncredited)
Howard Shelley .... musician: piano (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Raymond Borne .... production driver
Roland Godard .... production driver
Other crew
Michèle Andreucci .... script supervisor
Agnès Chaulier .... production administrator
Claude Davy .... press relations
Louis Grau .... general administration
Nicole Souchal .... co-location manager
Etienne Chicot .... thanks: La guitare utilisée par

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Hôtel des Amériques" - France (original title)
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95 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

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FrühlingsstimmenSee more »


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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
With sad round of drifters, Téchiné finds himself, 5 June 2009
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California

This may be Téchiné's first distinctively personal work. 'Hôtel des Amériques' is a rueful, disconcerting film whose central theme is the doomed relationship of two people, both distracted and hopeless, who aren't right for each other and don't know where they're going. Not altogether surprisingly, they meet as the result of a car crash in which one almost runs over the other. That's a good sign of where things are headed.

All this happens in Biarritz, city of tourists and gamblers, a place one character says is not quite France but not quite anywhere else. It's another character in the film, alienating yet still romantic and, of course, a place where one might win big. At least it's a good place for a hotel. But the irony of the hotel is that when its owner returns from making a lot of money in Mexico he modernizes it and it becomes soulless and the cozy, voluptuous French "petits déjeuners" with strong coffee, crisp bread and big pats of butter are replaced by packaged "American breakfasts" deemed trendy and appealing to foreign guests.

Gilles (Patrick Delawaere, excellent and troubling here) is an engaging but disastrous loser, poetic but seedy, who's mistakenly devoted to a pseudo-artistic petty criminal named Bernard (Etienne Chicot) whom he met when both were sojourning in New York. Bernard is really a very unpleasant man, a liar and would-be serial seducer who pretends his songwriting is important; he can't even make money as a street musician. Both men live in the hotel of Gilles' mother, who runs the place along with his younger sister, a heavy reader who never goes out but is madly in love with a man who once stayed one night at the hotel.

The woman who almost kills Gilles with her car at the outset of the film is Hélène (Catherine Deneuve), an anesthesiologist adrift after the death of an older man, an architect whom she loved and who left her a large decrepit villa he had planned to restore, in which they were already living. She has moved now to a studio apartment with an ocean view when she hits Gilles and he latches onto her and won't let go. She's so lonely she accepts him, but she can't really love him and it would be impractical to do so. The circle is completed by Rudel (François Perrot), a doctor Hélène knew in medical school who once was her lover; he's a compulsive gambler whom Hélène appeals to for some sort of stability. He turns out to be the one Gilles' sister fell in love with.

This is one of Téchiné's odd assortments of interconnected people; you can see the same thing going on in his 2007 'The Witnesses.' In 'Wild Reeds'/'Les roseaux sauvages', another of Téchiné's best films, the composition is simple: just a girl and two boys, one of whom is gay and the other bisexual.

Also emerging in this film is the gay element that's ever-present in the director's best work, usually with gay people and straight people who are friends and someone bisexual who links them all physically, like the bi- Vice Squad chief played by Sami Bouajila in 'The Witnesses'/'Les Témoins', who's madly in love (and in lust) with Manu (Johan Libéreau), the boy who dies a tragic early AIDS victim, but who also loves his beautiful wife, Emmanuelle Béart, the frustrated children's book author who is to write their saga as a novel with Manu's true confessions at its center.

Obviously linking seemingly disconnected people through variable sexualities is essential to Téchiné's way of composing a film. In 'Hôtel des Amériques' the dilemma isn't as clear as in 'Wild Reeds.' Bernard may be bisexual and Gilles may be in love with him as well as Hélène. Certainly he's torn between them, and Bertrand's heterosexual boasting may be a pose. The gay post office worker Luc (Jean-Louis Vitrac) is attracted to Bernard. Bernard rejects Luc but falls back upon him in desperation when his life is a shambles. Jacques Nolot, the filmmaker, plays a tough gay leatherman who tries to beat up Bernard in a cruising area. This was Nolot's first film role, and he runs the whorehouse hotel occupied by Manu and his sister in 'Les Ténoins.' Meanwile he has become highly respected latterly for his own few wry, boldly unguarded, autobiographical films. He wrote the scenario for Téchiné's 'I Don't Kiss' (1991), whch contains autobiographical elements for both him and the director.

'Hôtel des Amériques' was a turning point for Téchiné. He has said that from then on he no longer made genre films, and this was the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with Deneuve, six films together so far (2009). With a gay sensibility, Téchiné has worked with the most beautiful actresses in French cinema, including Emmanuelle Béart and Juliette Binoche. This 1981 Deneuve is icy cold, as she tended to be when young, but later she uses her iciness to be engagingly annoying for Arnaud Desplechin (in Kings and Queen and A Christmas Tale), showing these two auteurs don't find her perfection at all off-putting, and rightly so: ice-queen Deneuve has blossomed into a woman who has depths and can be humorous and almost cuddly.

The thing is that whether you like 'Hôtel des Amériques' or not, and I find it unsatisfying, you can see in it how Téchiné came to find himself through working not from genres or from movies but from life and in particular from the quirks of his characters and their interactions. This explains his reliance on "l'imprévu," the element of the unforeseen, the improvised, with accidents and pickups in bars or cruising areas determining story arcs and relationships.

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