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Cinema’s Hotels: from postcolonial hospitality to the Paris Syndrome

Cinema’s Hotels: from postcolonial hospitality to the Paris Syndrome

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  • Date 26 Apr 2023
  • Time 17:00-18:30
  • Category Seminar

Dr Jules O'Dwyer discusses the entwined relationship between the hotel and the cinema

About the Event

This event has now occurred, but you can watch the recording of Jules's talk here.

From the Chateau Marmont to Marienbad, the Bates Motel to the Overlook Hotel, the hotels we encounter in the cinema serve as much more than the mute backdrop against which a film’s action transpires. Rather, hotel spaces actively scaffold the formal, aesthetic, and narrative possibilities of cinema. In this talk, which is drawn from a short book project tentatively titled, Cinema’s Hotels, I explore the entwined relationship between the hotel and the cinema.

Taking as my point of departure Claire Denis’s 1994 film, J’ai pas sommeil / I Can’t Sleep, a film set in a hotel in Paris’s Montmartre district, I point to a set of tensions ( public and private, impersonality and intimacy, labour and leisure, the local and the global) that both underpin the operation of the hotel and that curiously strike at the heart of film theory today. By interweaving film history and personal reflections, I subsequently move beyond Denis’s text to consider both how and why the institution of the hotel holds such a strong purchase in the cinematic imaginary.

This event is supported by the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS).

About the Speaker

Jules O'Dwyer is a Research Fellow in Film and French Studies St John’s College, Cambridge. His research interests include French and Francophone cinema, queer studies, film theory, and spatial approaches to visual media. His previous work has been published in journals such as Screen, Discourse, and Studies in French Cinema, and his first book, The Seduction of Space in French Queer Cinema, is forthcoming with the University of Minnesota Press. He is co-editor of world picture.

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