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Monday, October 01, 2007

Hotel Chevalier

If you go into iTunes and search for "Hotel Chevalier," you'll uncover a short film by that title. It is a teaser, part 1 of the Darjeeling Limited, Wes Anderson's upcoming feature. This short stars Natalie Portman and Jason Schwartzman.

What begins as a typically Wes Anderson-esque film rapidly spirals into a drama with characters and dialog that rival Mike Nichols (and I'm not just saying that because Natalie Portman was in Closer). Anderson's two-dimensional walking-idiosyncrasies give way to two characters with very deep hurt, the kind that comes with a long history of emotional pain with someone, and the relationship and all it entails reads on their faces the moment their eyes meet and Natalie Portman nestles her head next to his.

Their dialog has equal hyper-familiarity, and they do absolutely nothing to curb their blunt honesty. One of Jason Schwartzman's lines stopped me dead in my tracks, and my eyes widened. I could not believe that any line written by Wes would not be draped in velvety sheets of facade and contrivance (facade and contrivance that I deeply enjoy, mind you).

The film is only 12:58, and in that short time Anderson manages to break himself out of a pattern of filmmaking, weaving a story and people that are truly remarkable and to whom I can easily relate, creating a beautifully orchestrated vignette that gives me newfound hope for the quality of The Darjeeling Limited.

The entire short film is available on iTunes for free download. Prepare to be heartbroken. The good kind.

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