Ingenious film about making a film. An international film group goes down squabbling in a beautiful Venetian hotel. With slightly cannibalistic tendencies and many cameos.
This film is about filming a film within the film and, as if that isn’t enough, the film crew is also filmed by a television reporting team. In the characteristically Venetian Hungaria Hotel, a film crew and cast (including many cameos) has settled in to work on a film version of the seventeenth-century play The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster. Led by the demanding director, the film in the film has to be made according to the principles of Dogme. The film itself is also shot on digital video and many scenes were made through improvisations. Alongside the tumultuous developments on and off the set, Figgis also added several other storylines. In the hotel, a questionable East European politician and a mysterious murderer put in an appearance while the staff also have plenty to hide. What goes on in the cellars sometimes gives the film the air of a vampire movie. The style of the film is also unusual. The experiment with a screen split into several smaller screens that Figgis started strikingly with Time Code, is pursued here no less radically. Hotel is a complex film that has a lot to say about contemporary filmmaking. Directly, by satirizing the pampered habits of the film world and its interaction with the media; indirectly, by adjusting the use of images to this digital age. –IFFR
Michael “Mike” Figgis (born 28 February 1948) is an English film director, writer, and composer.
Figgis’s early interest was in music and he played keyboards for Bryan Ferry’s first band. In 1983 he directed a theatre play, produced in Theatre Gerard-Philipe (Saint-Denis, Paris, France). This play performed with great success at Festival de Grenada and in Theater der Welt (Munich, Germany).
After working in theatre (he was a musician and performer in the experimental group People Show) he made his feature film debut with the low budget Stormy Monday in 1988. The film earned him attention as a director who could get interesting performances from established Hollywood actors. He initially made a splash in America in the 1990s with the gritty thriller Internal Affairs that helped to revive the career of Richard Gere. His next Hollywood feature Mr. Jones was misunderstood by the studio who attempted to market the downbeat story as a feelgood movie… read more