Daily Archives: January 12, 1990

Hotel Monterey

This early experimental feature, slightly longer than an hour, by Chantal Akerman (1972), shot silently and brilliantly by Babette Mangolte, explores the corridors, lobby, elevators, and rooms of a cheap New York hotel. Occasionally the rooms’ solitary occupants are glimpsed, but this only increases the overall atmosphere of eerie isolation and quiet, and reveals perhaps more than any other Akerman film how central an influence Edward Hopper has had on her work. On the same program, two very early Akerman shorts: Saute ma ville! (1968) and Lachambre (1972). Saute ma ville!–Akerman’s first film, made when she was still a teenager–is a hilarious and appropriately claustrophobic forerunner of Jeanne Dielman, starring Akerman herself as a neurotic individual who creates apocalyptic havoc in her own kitchen. An illuminating and luminous program, not to be missed. (Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Monday through Thursday, January 15 through 18, 7:00, 281-4114)… Read more »


A historically fascinating picture about the Civil War’s 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, made up of black enlisted men and headed by a white colonel named Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick). Directed by TV award winner Edward Zwick (thirtysomething, Special Bulletin) from a script by Kevin Jarre (Rambo: First Blood Part II), the film suffers from some of the war-movie and liberal-movie cliches that one might expect from filmmakers with these credits, but the cast–which also includes Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Cary Elwes–is strong, and the training and battle scenes seem carefully researched. Lurking somewhere in the background of this true-life tale, derived from two books (Lincoln Kirstein’s Lay This Laurel and Peter Burchard’s One Gallant Rush) and the letters of Robert Gould Shaw, is some caustic irony about the outcome of the black soldiers’ desire to fight that the movie never confronts directly enough. But this is still a pretty watchable and always interesting period film, well photographed by English cinematographer Freddie Francis. (Webster Place, Evanston, Evergreen, Hyde Park, Hillside Square, Norridge, Yorktown, Water Tower, Lincoln Village)… Read more »