Hotel California | 2005

A driver’s-assistant speaks of his dreams for a better future as he works long days and nights delivering provisions in a provincial French city. He needs to change his situation but his hopes have been dashed too many times now. Yet one chance still remains, no matter how slim the odds. He’s in too deep and there’s no turning back.

The success of this film relies upon a twist halfway through whereby the viewer discovers that the narrator’s voice is not that of the lead character. Unfortunately, for this narrative device to work, the viewer has to be willing to believe that someone of Asian origin can be French. Growing up, the people I knew came from many different ethnic backgrounds, nonetheless I just considered them to be regular citizens like anybody else. Naively I assumed this was the case for most people. As I was to discover upon making this film, for the average White person in France, anyone who looks Asian will forever be “un Chinois”. Regardless as to their actual ethnic origin. And regardless as to how many generations their family may have lived in France. Therefore the story fails (and so, on this count, does French society).

Fiction. Color. 16mm. 13 minutes. French, Mandarin.
Writen and directed by Nigel Bennet. Produced by Big Productions for Canal+, France.

Hotel California