In his documentary Hotellet, which opened this weekend in Sweden, Kristian Petri explores our relationship to homes, temporary homes and homelessness. In an interview with Dagens Nyheter, Petri explains how the film was conceived and how the death of his father influenced its development:
“I’ve always been a hotel fetishist… It started with a romantic notion of exotic adventure with writers, spies and princes in exile, people who were for various reasons hiding in a hotel.”
“I also liked the hotel’s potential for becoming another person for a few days. The idea of getting to play with one’s identity is a wonderful, liberating feeling. I also have long had an attraction to visiting the hotel where writers like Rilke have been.”
The idea for Hotellet came when the Reina Victoria in Madrid closed in the early 2000s. “After having lived there off and on for 20 years, it felt like a second home had disappeared.” But the film became came into focus when Petri’s father passed away five years ago.
“My father’s death created a sense that all existence is fragile… I wanted the film to be about life, death, creation, high and low – and my father’s death framed it all.”
“It gave me a new kind of humility towards life. All we think of as rock solid in life is really just a temporary arrangement. The hotel is the perfect symbol of this.”