Hôtel des Amériques

1981 [FRENCH]

Action / Drama / Romance

IMDb Rating 6.4 10 885


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
May 19, 2021 at 08:15 PM


Catherine Deneuve as Hélène
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
862.1 MB
fre 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 33 min
P/S 2 / 8
1.56 GB
fre 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 33 min
P/S 0 / 8

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Chris Knipp 8 / 10

With sad round of drifters, Téchiné finds himself

This may be Téchiné's first distinctively personal work. 'Hôtel des Amériques' is a rueful, disconcerting film whose central theme is the doomed relationship of two people, both distracted and hopeless, who aren't right for each other and don't know where they're going. Not altogether surprisingly, they meet as the result of a car crash in which one almost runs over the other. That's a good sign of where things are headed.

All this happens in Biarritz, city of tourists and gamblers, a place one character says is not quite France but not quite anywhere else. It's another character in the film, alienating yet still romantic and, of course, a place where one might win big. At least it's a good place for a hotel. But the irony of the hotel is that when its owner returns from making a lot of money in Mexico he modernizes it and it becomes soulless and the cozy, voluptuous French "petits déjeuners" with strong coffee, crisp bread and big pats of butter are replaced by packaged "American breakfasts" deemed trendy and appealing to foreign guests.

Gilles (Patrick Delawaere, excellent and troubling here) is an engaging but disastrous loser, poetic but seedy, who's mistakenly devoted to a pseudo-artistic petty criminal named Bernard (Etienne Chicot) whom he met when both were sojourning in New York. Bernard is really a very unpleasant man, a liar and would-be serial seducer who pretends his songwriting is important; he can't even make money as a street musician. Both men live in the hotel of Gilles' mother, who runs the place along with his younger sister, a heavy reader who never goes out but is madly in love with a man who once stayed one night at the hotel.

The woman who almost kills Gilles with her car at the outset of the film is Hélène (Catherine Deneuve), an anesthesiologist adrift after the death of an older man, an architect whom she loved and who left her a large decrepit villa he had planned to restore, in which they were already living. She has moved now to a studio apartment with an ocean view when she hits Gilles and he latches onto her and won't let go. She's so lonely she accepts him, but she can't really love him and it would be impractical to do so. The circle is completed by Rudel (François Perrot), a doctor Hélène knew in medical school who once was her lover; he's a compulsive gambler whom Hélène appeals to for some sort of stability. He turns out to be the one Gilles' sister fell in love with.

This is one of Téchiné's odd assortments of interconnected people; you can see the same thing going on in his 2007 'The Witnesses.' In 'Wild Reeds'/'Les roseaux sauvages', another of Téchiné's best films, the composition is simple: just a girl and two boys, one of whom is gay and the other bisexual.

Also emerging in this film is the gay element that's ever-present in the director's best work, usually with gay people and straight people who are friends and someone bisexual who links them all physically, like the bi- Vice Squad chief played by Sami Bouajila in 'The Witnesses'/'Les Témoins', who's madly in love (and in lust) with Manu (Johan Libéreau), the boy who dies a tragic early AIDS victim, but who also loves his beautiful wife, Emmanuelle Béart, the frustrated children's book author who is to write their saga as a novel with Manu's true confessions at its center.

Obviously linking seemingly disconnected people through variable sexualities is essential to Téchiné's way of composing a film. In 'Hôtel des Amériques' the dilemma isn't as clear as in 'Wild Reeds.' Bernard may be bisexual and Gilles may be in love with him as well as Hélène. Certainly he's torn between them, and Bertrand's heterosexual boasting may be a pose. The gay post office worker Luc (Jean-Louis Vitrac) is attracted to Bernard. Bernard rejects Luc but falls back upon him in desperation when his life is a shambles. Jacques Nolot, the filmmaker, plays a tough gay leatherman who tries to beat up Bernard in a cruising area. This was Nolot's first film role, and he runs the whorehouse hotel occupied by Manu and his sister in 'Les Ténoins.' Meanwile he has become highly respected latterly for his own few wry, boldly unguarded, autobiographical films. He wrote the scenario for Téchiné's 'I Don't Kiss' (1991), whch contains autobiographical elements for both him and the director.

'Hôtel des Amériques' was a turning point for Téchiné. He has said that from then on he no longer made genre films, and this was the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with Deneuve, six films together so far (2009). With a gay sensibility, Téchiné has worked with the most beautiful actresses in French cinema, including Emmanuelle Béart and Juliette Binoche. This 1981 Deneuve is icy cold, as she tended to be when young, but later she uses her iciness to be engagingly annoying for Arnaud Desplechin (in Kings and Queen and A Christmas Tale), showing these two auteurs don't find her perfection at all off-putting, and rightly so: ice-queen Deneuve has blossomed into a woman who has depths and can be humorous and almost cuddly.

The thing is that whether you like 'Hôtel des Amériques' or not, and I find it unsatisfying, you can see in it how Téchiné came to find himself through working not from genres or from movies but from life and in particular from the quirks of his characters and their interactions. This explains his reliance on "l'imprévu," the element of the unforeseen, the improvised, with accidents and pickups in bars or cruising areas determining story arcs and relationships.

Reviewed by grow386 8 / 10

Interesting Film About Human Relations.

This review contains spoilers ! Helene is sad and distant because she has not recovered from the demise of her architect boyfriend. One night, she met Gilles, an aimless guy who is a part time tourist guide, living in his mother's hotel. Helene is attracted to Gilles but she cannot open up to him yet. The attraction is mutual. However, Gilles seems frustrated that Helene is not ready to fully commit to him. If only he were more patient, one can see that Helene is slowly opening up. She changed her hairstyle and there is more color to her face. She even took Gilles to her real house, not just her rented apartment. Despite their feelings for each other, Helene's personal baggage and Gilles lack of maturity threaten their relationship. Gilles friend, Benard, is no help. He is a loser who tries his best to make Gilles feel guilty. One wonders if Helene is attracted to Gilles partly because she is looking for someone who needs her. Gilles is like a boy who has not grown up emotionally and has not taken on the responsibilities of an adult. For example, Gilles younger sister has the full time job of helping their mom run their hotel. I think this film is about the complexities of human relationships and how lack of maturity and communication can lead to despair and depression.

Reviewed by martha-31669 10 / 10

Fascinating study in upended expectations

At times during this film, I wondered if Téchiné had set out specifically to construct a world in which conventional gender expectations were turned upside down. I have appreciated across Téchiné's body of work a sense that, because heteronormativity is not assumed, alternatives to heteronormativity are, well, normalized. Although this analysis makes Téchiné's work sound didactic or agenda-driven, it is not. It's a breath of fresh air to spend time in a filmmaker's universe that doesn't adhere to gendered relationship conventions so commonplace and routine that we don't even notice or question them. When filmmakers construct a universe (in which some things exist and others do not exist), it is frequently the case that the only female characters who inhabit the constructed world are, on some level, concubines, whether outright prostitutes, objects of desire, wives, or girlfriends. In this common construction of the writer/director's film universe, the woman (or women) possess very few assets of worth: sex, youth, and beauty. The story, to the extent that it concerns the female characters, is about how women deploy their limited set of assets to attract male attention and the attendant benefit: material security. (In these constructed universes, women are uninteresting or irrelevant if they have the means to achieve material security without its being conferred as a consequence of their attachment to an entitled male character.) Given the popularity of this particular constructed universe in film stories, it's interesting to occasionally encounter film universes that deviate from this tired formula. Why is this conventional constructed film universe so popular? Perhaps because it caters to the a male fantasy of desirability as an extension of power? Téchiné's Hôtel des Amériques is so radical in its construction as to explore the possibility of a world in which expected roles are almost completely transposed. As a thought-experiment, it is fascinating and merits close watching.

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