Hotel Monterey

Hotel Monterey ★★★★

The second film in the Eclipse boxset of Chantal Akerman's 1970s films. This film is a non-narrative documentary that takes you through the space of a New York hotel, occasionally showing you some of its inhabitants but never interacting with them. The film is much more focused on the architecture of the hotel and the spaces inside of it and on top of it. Hotels are kinda weird places! The vast majority of them are there for you to sleep in and then forget it ever happened, and the people in there at the same time as you feel like one of the most visible instances you'll ever encounter of truly random experiences with other people that you will almost certainly never see again. It's also an example of an unfamiliar building to you that you will almost certainly only experience at odd hours - late at night, early in the morning, when everything seems kinda unearthly anyways but especially when you're in such a generic, uncharacterized space. This is a movie that forces you to grapple with that weirdness head-on, showing it to you uninterrupted for sometimes full minutes at a time. Like Jeanne Dielman, it's easy to think for certain shots that maybe your DVD player just froze, until you see a curtain billowing a little in the wind.
This movie, also like Jeanne Dielman, is a movie you gotta vibe with. It's boring, but it's as slow as it is because Chantal Akerman wants you to think about it. Nothing else is happening to give you that opportunity to imagine why you've been looking down this hallway at a door opening and closing for five straight minutes now, and to look around that hallway and consider how high the roof is, where the doors are, where the lighting is. What time even is it?
You gotta be into this kind of thing but if you're willing to try seeing the movie on Akerman's terms, it'll give you plenty to think about.

Will liked this review