The short-lived but artistic Hotel Chevalier was not without meaning. It served as the prequel of a much grander The Darjeeling Limited. What brought it to the limelight was actually a combination of interesting factors – great director, great actors, and an promising premise to be continued.
A man (Jason Schwartzman) is in the middle of his dilemma. We can see that clearly that he’s being anxious all the time, caging himself inside a European-style hotel, having his meals through room services, and a view of a messy room. Clearly he’s been staying here for a while until that fateful phone call arrives.
It’s the voice of his ‘supposedly’ long lost girlfriend or someone of his love interest but made him into this kind of situation. He’s actually quite hesitant about the idea of accepting her to come visiting him but being a man, he gives himself up in the end. The woman (Natalie Portman) arrives later, appears ravishing even with her short-haired look and wearing trench coat. She’s clearly an irresistible persona for the man.
Then came all the aesthetics that Wes Anderson likes to do. Angles taken from railed cameras, the dollhouses, the miniatures, and anything artistic. In-between, the man plays ‘Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) by Peter Sarstedt on and on through his iPod – a scene where you will see all the time in The Darjeeling Limited. Not to mention about the appearance of a fancy brown suitcases with the J.W.L initial.
Hotel Chevalier will provide an enticing insight, but not too much, about the love story of this man and it will be mentioned throughout The Darjeeling Limited about his decision to meet her up someday in Italy. What will happen to them now? One thing for sure, it’s all about smeared love and bruises, the introduction of Wes Anderson stylish approach, and a limited account of the characters. Interesting but that’s it.
HOTEL CHEVALIER (2007)
Director: Wes Anderson
Screenwriter: Wes Anderson
Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Natalie Portman
Music: Pascal Roge
Editing: Vincent Marchand