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.
Chantal Akerman, the Belgian filmmaker, lives in New York. Filmed images of the City are accompanied by the texts of Chantal Akerman's loving but manipulative mother back home in Brussels. ... See full summary »
Marcel Proust (1871-1922) is on his deathbed. Looking at photographs brings memories of his childhood, his youth, his lovers, and the way the Great War put an end to a stratum of society. ... See full summary »
In a 360° circular panoramic shot the camera slowly pans an entire apartment (or house). When it first passes the bedroom there is nobody there but each time it shows the room again Chantal... See full summary »
Having recently discovered French actress Sylvie Testud when I saw The Chateau, I was interested in this film because she's in it. I haven't read the story that the film is supposedly based on so I had nothing to compare it to when I saw it and therefore I went in without any preconceived notions. And with a film like this, a film that doesn't operate on any conventional filmmaking level, that is a very good thing.
This movie doesn't try to tell you what to think or feel about its characters; there is none of the contrivances so common in American movies, none of the manipulation. It just simply presents them and follows them and allows them to do what they do without the camera cutting away too soon for fear that the audience will get bored when there's not a lot "going on" in a scene - in fact some of the best scenes in the film have hardly any movement at all. And this is not done in a self-conscious, 'arty' let's-create-mood sort of way, which makes watching it - or rather experiencing it - even more hypnotic.
This is a film that must be experienced more than once, I would say: you're not really sure what's transpired OR how you feel about what you've witnessed upon a first viewing because it doesn't hit all the 'buttons' that a commercial film is compelled to hit. And Testud is brilliant, managing to imply complexity without demonstrating it (if that makes sense) - she's beyond subtle, beyond sublime.
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