Hotel Monterey

Hotel Monterey ★★★★

Upon reading a description of this film, it's tempting to underestimate the ability of such a simple concept to - merely through repetition and the occasional embellishment - become genuinely moving and rewarding over the course of its 62-minute runtime. To do this would be a mistake.

I'm not quite willing to claim this to be an absolute masterwork, but if nothing else it paved the way for Tsai Ming-Liang's Goodbye, Dragon Inn, and is worth viewing simply to see another facet of the cinematic form explored in-depth. Other viewers have compared this to flipping through old photographs, viewing people who have long-since died, and I have to echo that sentiment. At times, the film is legitimately unnerving in the same way. No mean feat, given the film's complete silence and minimal camera movement. At one point, during a static shot of one of the hotel's many hallways, we see - through a crack in the door - the briefest sliver of a face peering out at the camera, and the effect is singularly eerie.

I'd recommend putting this on, finding some spooky/ambient record - in my case, Andy Stott's "Faith in Strangers" album - and letting the film unfurl before you. Ideally, one could watch this without accompaniment, but I might have some issues with my attention span at times.

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