Joseph (Rey) is an ageing actor whose movie career has been dogged by a succession of villainous cameos in Bond movies. Spending a working vacation in Paris, he attempts in vain to stage Camus' The Fall, his path crossing with the hotel's other variously estranged residents: Frédérique (Bonvoisin), a photographer on the run from her ex-boyfriend; Arthur (Luchini), a would-be film-maker; and Maurice (Quester), a theatre owner in the grip of severly diminishing returns. Bokova's feature debut is a melancholy portrait of exile which threatens to fall into sentimentality. Yet her conviction that apparent non-events frequently embody the most important episodes of human communication, and her resolute refusal to compromise atmosphere by forcing the narrative forward, constantly elevates her work above such mundanity. Casting Rey was a stroke of genius; the almost painful parallel between his own career and that of the beleaguered Joseph is turned into caustic humour by his fatally grim, understated delivery.
Hôtel du Paradis
Cast and crew