Hotel Monterey

Hotel Monterey ★★★★

In honor of Chantal Akerman's life I decided to give one of her Hulu options a go this morning. At first I wasn't too sure how to feel about Hotel Monterey. Not knowing that the film is totally silent was kind of a shock when the realization hit. But the more I think about the film the more I understand that the lack of sound isn't just a quick experimentation. This is an extremely precise bit of film theory in practice that's reminiscent of composer John Cage's piece 4'33". For those unfamiliar John Cage would sit down at a piano for a length of time without actually playing. The trick is that the music then comes from the silence, the shuffling, coughing and lowkey background noise that you start to notice.

There is a popular view that no song is ever played exactly the same way, and I think Akerman is touching on this concept during the film. You could literally watch this in a number of scenarios, a quiet theater, a semi loud home full of people, or a subway car. Each time you're likely to get a different experience. I find that totally fascinating.

At just 62 minutes the film doesn't take much to watch, it reminds me of a combination of Stanley Kubricks The Shining (in terms of cinematography) and Tsai Ming Liang's Goodbye Dragon Inn (In terms of wandering, contemplative narrative). This is definitely a cool movie for film fans to check out, especially if you want to see something fairly different.