Hotel for Strangers

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1966

Production year

1966

Premiere

24 March 1967

Runtime

102 min

Category

film

Genre

tragicomedy

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Hotel pro cizince

Czech title

Hotel pro cizince

English title

Hotel for Strangers

Summary

Described as “a mummery about love and death”, this 1966 film by director Antonín Máša is one of the more significant contributions to the treasure chest of the Czechoslovak New Wave. Using his own theme and working with a script co-developed with his camera operator Ivan Šlapeta, Máša created a deliberately enigmatic narrative that pays homage to an earlier film L'Année dernière à Marienbad (Last Year in Marienbad, 1961) by the French director Alain Resnais. Following similar themes to the French film, Máša’s young poet protagonist Petr Hudec (played by Petr Čepek) questions the possibility of reaching a rational and definitive understanding of the world. Within the confusing but intricately observed micro-world of the hotel, Hudec strives to find – and define – pure love. Instead he discovers only estrangement and death. The secession-style narrative, clearly influenced by Franz Kafka, was a unique experiment within Czechoslovak cinema at the time. It also stands out from the rest of Máša’s work, which has more obvious psychological or social themes.

Synopsis

Once, the young poet Petr Hudec has been killed in the Art Nouveau setting of the castle The World [hotel Svět]. Later, his diary is found and the brief and incoherent notes became the basis for the story of the events preceding the murder. Peter is to meet his lover Veronika in the hotel. He is accommodated in a beautiful chamber. The behaviour of the personnel, however, is rather weird, oscillating between impertinent intrusion and offensive arrogance. Following Petr's conflict with the waiter Jiří, born Count, the poet is moved to a dilapidated room. While seeking Veronika in vain, he runs to several hotel guests. The refined old lady Rosická treats him in a very intimate way. The writer Blech explains to the poet that she had lost her son long ago and now tries to find him in every young man. Petr eventually succeeds in meeting Veronika, but she is already a different person from the one he used to know. She doubts her love to him and intimately cuddles with the male members of the personnel. Petr gradually quarrels with almost everybody in the hotel. The cook reveals his homosexuality to him but then tries to strangle him, worried of the disclosure. Petr's love for Veronika turned frigid and the young man decides to leave. The last night, he is murdered by three fatal stabs. The culprit is never found. The guests say goodbye to the personnel and leave, satisfied with their sojourn.

Film online

Cast

Petr Čepek

Petr Hudec

Taťána Fischerová

Veronika Pisingrová

Marta Krásová

madam Rosická

Vladimír Šmeral

spisovatel Svatopluk Blech

Josef Somr

recepční

Jiří Hrzán

podomek Kája

Jiří Pleskot

správce hotelu

Jiřina Jirásková

správcova žena Marie

Ladislav Mrkvička

vrchní Vladimír, bratr Veroniky

Jiří Kodet

číšník Jiří hrabě Glück

Jiří Menzel

pikolík Honzík

Jan Libíček

kuchař Hynek

Waldemar Matuška

Otomar, Veroničin nevlastní bratr

Evelyna Juhanová

pokojská Růžena

Václav Kotva

pobuda se psem

Irena Šubrtová

matka

Josef Borovian

číšník

Petr Kopřiva

mladý muž

N. Kröschlová

stařena

Š. Říhová

stařena

P. Šnajdar

kluk

L. Dražan

stařec

Commentary

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Miloš Kohout

Assistant Director

Jan Kratochvíl, Stanislava Hutková

Script Supervisor

Marta Kunstová

Screenstory

Antonín Máša

Screenplay

Antonín Máša

Script Editor

Sergej Machonin

Director of Photography

Ivan Šlapeta

Second Unit Photography

Josef Pechar

Camera Operator

Petr Čech

Production Designer

Jan Oliva

Assistent Production Designer

Karel Vacek

Art Director

Ester Krumbachová

Set Designer

Čestmír Diviš, Karel Kracík, Ladislav Winkelhöfer

Costume Designer

Ester Krumbachová

Film Editor

Miroslav Hájek

Sound Designer

Jiří Kejř

Production Manager

Jiří Krejčí

Unit Production Manager

Josef Mojžíš, Vlasta Kolbasová

Unit Production Manager

Milena Andrejsková

Music

Music Composed by

Svatopluk Havelka

Music Performed by

FISYO (Music Conducted by Štěpán Koníček)

Songs

Lúbosti, lúbosti

Songwriter lidová slovenská píseň
Writer of Lyrics lidová slovenská píseň
Singer Táťána Fischerová

Bílým šátkem mává

Writer of Lyrics Jaroslav Seifert
Singer Waldemar Matuška

Lásko, bože, lásko

Songwriter lidová píseň
Writer of Lyrics lidová píseň
Singer Táťána Fischerová

Production info

Original Title

Hotel pro cizince

Czech Title

Hotel pro cizince

English Title

Hotel for Strangers

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

tragicomedy

Origin country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1966

Production Year

1966

Production specifications

literary Screenplay approved 8 March 1966
technical Screenplay approved 16 May 1966
start of filming 6 June 1966
end of filming 4 October 1966
projection approval 14 December 1966

Premiere

premiere 17 March 1967 /unsuitable for youths/ (kino Paříž /2 týdny/, Praha)
premiere 24 March 1967 /unsuitable for youths/ (celostátní)
renewed premiere 1 March 1991 /unsuitable for youths/

Studio

Barrandov

Distribution

Ústřední půjčovna filmů (původní 1967 a obnovená 1991 /pod názvem Lucernafilm/)

Creative Group

Tvůrčí skupina Novotný – Kubala, Bedřich Kubala (vedoucí dramaturg tvůrčí skupiny), Ladislav Novotný (vedoucí výroby tvůrčí skupiny)

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

102 min

Original length in metres

2 901 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm

Aspect ratio

1:1,37

Colour

black & white

Sound

sound

Sound system/format

mono

Versions

Czech

Dialogue languages

Czech

Subtitles languages

without subtitles

Opening/End credits languages

Czech