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Hollywood Hotel

A Film by Mei-Juin Chen

Music by John Zorn

53 Minutes

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What is Hollywood? Is it a real place or does it exist only in the imagination? Taiwanese filmmaker Mei-Juin Chen wrestles with these questions in her inaugural documentary feature Hollywood Hotel. The film explores the lives, dreams and aspirations of a group of tenants at the Hastings Hotel, a seventy-year-old resident hotel located within a stone’s throw of Hollywood Boulevard’s historic Walk of Fame. The simplicity and shabbiness of the building and its inhabitants contrast sharply with the glitter and glamour that this city exudes for the outside world. The film acquaints us with some of the hotel’s permanent residents.  There is Mr. and Mrs. O’Brien.  They and their growing children have very little living space, but they try to make the best of it.  Another resident is a mysterious scriptwriter who has been living in the hotel for 25 years, but does not want to be filmed. Finally, we are introduced to Kali, an eccentric old lady whose body is riddled by disease.  Every day she sits on a bench in front of the hotel wearing a wild wig. Hollywood Hotel portrays these eccentric denizens, delving into a private world where each individual is accepted as he or she is, and combining filmic genres and textures that link the residents’ desires and illusions with the filmmaker’s own anthropological quest for “exotic” America.

Critical Response

…Chen’s fragmented, almost surreal film acquaints us with the real Hollywood… - Los Angeles Times


International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (official competition)

Visions du Reel (official competition)

Gyor International Festival of Visual Arts

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival


Anthropology   History   Urban Life   Arts & Artists

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