Hotel Monterey

Hotel Monterey ★★★★

Screened the night before Dielman and it proved to be a very useful tool for contextualizing that movie's use of S P A C E. That's good programming!

One could've made a very straightforward documentary about Hotel Monterey and I'm sure it would've been just fine, valuable even! What Akerman assembles is far more effecting though, a document that captures the spirit and vitality of this business/community without relying on a bunch of heads telling you how spirited and vital it is. Akerman takes it a step further even and eschews sound altogether, and while I'd be reticent to characterize this lady I've never met, it feels almost as if Akerman is challenging everyone else to do better, positing the effect of environmental noise as a cop out or crutch almost on par with those heads. Akerman's camera and lighting transform standard utility hallways into pulsating, organic entities, and render the hotel guests silent, motionless - human portraits as opposed to portraits of humans.

Its a striking documentary that gets at truth by removing it from the superficiality of composed exposition, and thrusting it back into the context of physical space.

Edit: Would be remiss if I didn't mention a very funny Akerman gag where the camera lingers on an empty hallway for what feels like forever (probably 2 minutes in reality) before cutting away to another static, long take of a similar looking hallway. One could practically feel the air being sucked from the room.