Hôtel des Ameriques

Director: Andre Techine


Helene (Catherine Deneuve) strikes up a relationship with Gilles (Patrick Dewaere) after encountering him in a road accident. She is suffering from depression after having lost her lover a year ago, whilst he is a young loafer who runs a cheap hotel with his mother. Gilles is at first keen about their developing relationship but then backs off when he suspects that Helene could never really love someone less well off than herself.
For her part, Helene is deeply in love with Gilles and is unable to let him go, even when he starts behaving irrationally towards her. Hôtel des Ameriques marked a turning point in Techine’s career. It was his first collaboration with Deneuve, and he said that it also represented a move away from genre filmmaking. ‘My inspiration is no longer drawn from the cinema,’ he said, implying that he was interested in adopting a more direct approach to life’s problems and working in closer collaboration with his actors in developing his themes. Even so, Hôtel des Ameriques is a very stylish, not to say stylised, film. Cinematographer Bruno Nuytten’s atmospheric night scenes and Philippe Sarde’s full-blown romantic score often give the impression of an old Marcel Carne romance. But Techine is clearly attempting to undermine and subvert the romantic cliches, not least through his deeply troubled and scarred protagonists, who are very well played by Deneuve and Dewaere.

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