Wes Anderson Hotel Chevalier - Grief? Depression? Ambiguity in a Paris hotel room. Jack Whitman lies on a bed, ordering a grilled cheese sandwich from room service. His phone rings; it's a woman on her way to see him, a surprise. He readies the room, moving without affect, drawing a bath, changing his clothes. She arrives, as does the food, and the complications of their relationship emerge in bits and pieces. He invites her out on the balcony to see his view. Will they make love? Is the relationship over? A prequel to the feature film The Darjeeling Limited, this quirky short sees Jason Schwartzman as the lovesick patron of a hotel when he is visited by the woman (Portman) who pushed him into his Parisian hideaway.
According to director Wes Anderson, the movie was filmed in two and a half days. The film was also edited entirely on his personal computer. Designed as a semi-independent prelude to "The Darjeeling Limited", "Hotel Chevalier" proves that ten minutes of Wes Anderson's wizardry are worth more than many another big-budget director's feature-length film. It's a study in the pain and the lust only love can bring, as well as a variation of Anderson's trademark motif, control. Where "The Darjeeling Limited" bubbles over with substance abuse, poisonous snakes, restroom romps, brotherly affection and fatal accidents, "Hotel Chevalier" is a quiet and slightly eerie two-character mini drama set in a lavish Merchant-Ivory style suite. The suite's sole resident is a reclusive control-freak writer in a long-distance relationship (Jason Schwartzman). We watch as he half enjoys, half endures a surprise visit by his control-freak girlfriend (Natalie Portman). Is she a woman of flesh and blood, or is she just an imaginary incarnation of the jet-setting girl from "Where do you go to my lovely", the song Peter keeps playing on his portable stereo? There's no knowing what's real and what isn't in Anderson's paper moon world. But the importance of fact and fiction fades as she reclines on the bed and has Peter take off her spike-heeled boots. It's the most emotionally and sexually loaded scene I have seen in a long time, like a 20-second tango. It seems some of Natalie Portman's best work is done in shorts set in Paris.