Hotel Monterey

Hotel Monterey ★★★½

Extremely difficult to get through in one sitting but also weirdly hypnotic. I was reminded heavily of Pedro Costa's films both because this has a kind of other worldly digital/Chiaroscuro feel, particularly the lighting, and because it's about a run down forgotten nook in a bustling metropolis.

Even though we only briefly go outside this feels very much like a dying New York right around the bottom of its post-WWII cycle from giant of industry to neglected wasteland to cultural epicenter by the turn of the century. Would this movie have had the same weight in any other city? Would the building itself have as much character - real or perceived?

Akerman is not my kind of director but the pull of her films and their impressive force of statement - their ability to feel simple to the point of banality on the surface but to be in fact rich with subtext and easy to unpack in both justified and pretentious ways - makes her reputation easy to understand.