Hotel Monterey

Hotel Monterey ★★★★½

Hotel Monterey is sixty minutes of silent footage shot within the walls of and looking out from a cheap New York hotel. It's not a show of mastery or even skill over cinema as an art form, but rather a more fundamental display of force and rage. The everyday object presents itself to the camera for far too long. Is this the end of it? Is this the structure in which we live?

Mundane has been taken in a modern sense to mean commonplace or ordinary, and indeed it comes from the Latin mundus for "world", yet the word mundane itself may have grown popular as recently as the 1950s and under a different definition. Here are a few variants:
Mundane -- something transitory or especially typical.
Mundane -- a person who wouldn't identify as a "fan" of a given science fiction franchise.
Mundane -- a human on the world of Babylon 5 who hasn't developed psychic powers.
Mundane -- someone who doesn't belong to the group as much as to the world.

The inhabitants of the hotel shuffle about within its four walls, but throughout the film's duration they never appear to belong to it. The dated architecture, the musty decor, and even the hotel infrastructure scattered throughout the halls present themselves in much the same way. The very act of belonging demands an existence of some group to which you can belong, and for these components of the Hotel Monterey, it could be said that no such group exists.


From The Passion According to GH, written by Clarice Lispector (1964), translated by Idra Novey (2012):

I become so scared when I realize that over a period of hours I lost my human constitution. I don't know if I'll have another one to replace the lost one with. I know that I'll need to take care not to surreptitiously use a new third leg that can grow back in me as easily as a weed, and then call that protective leg "a truth."

But I also don't know what form to give to what happened to me. And for me nothing exists unless I give it a form. And... and what if the reality is precisely that nothing has existed?! maybe nothing happened to me? I can understand only what happens to me, but only what I understand happens... what do I know about the rest? the rest hasn't existed. Maybe nothing has existed! Maybe I have merely undergone a great, slow disintegration. And my struggle against that disintegration is just that: is just trying to give it a form. A form gives contours to chaos, gives a construct to amorphous substance... the vision of an infinite flesh is a madman's vision, but if I cut that flesh into pieces and spread those pieces over days and famines... then it will no longer be perdition and madness: it will be humanized life again.