Hotel Monterey

Hotel Monterey ★★★½

During this recent Criterion flash sale, I managed to get ahold of my first Eclipse box set, which is the collection of Chantal Akerman’s films from the 70s. Ever since watching her masterpiece Jeanna Dielman about two years back, I have been eager to check out more of her work, which has finally come as of today. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this or not given how barebones the presentation is, exploring the shots of a New York City hotel and just simply observing. Yes this is a boring movie. But not one without merit. Much like her masterpiece, Akerman made a movie about the long and agonizing passage of time, while also making it deeply contemplative and making the viewer reflect on their own lives. I was surprised to see that this had no sound whatsoever, which threw me off a loop at first. Yet the more that it goes on, the more I was able to understand what she was going for. We never learn who these people are or what their lives are, just that they are residents in this lonely apartment. It makes for a movie that can be rather eerie, especially for the claustrophobic scenes like the one in the elevator, yet you do wonder who these people are and what their lives are like. Which eventually leading to wondering if you are anything like these tenants. It’s oddly hypnotic in a way. Yet at the same time this barebones approach does feel rather dry for me and I don’t think it ever did much for me to feel particularly moved by. However I do get the artistry so I cannot really write it off even if it didn’t do much for me personally. Still check it out if you find it rather interesting.