Hotel Chevalier (2007, Wes Anderson)

Jason Schwartzman is a sad man who has exiled himself to a Paris hotel after breaking up with his girlfriend. Natalie Portman is the girlfriend who finds him and comes to visit.

The main reason to watch this short:
nudie portman

Jason has his personal artifacts very carefully littering his room and he plays a specific song on his iPod speaker system when he hears Natalie coming upstairs. He’s got the typical Wes Anderson sadly introspective male performance, and she delicately shows off her quirky side by brushing her teeth with his brush as soon as she arrives. The camera compositions are meticulous and familiar.

So… why? I know it’s a back-story bit for The Darjeeling Limited, but why? Is it a marketing gimmick? It’s not a deleted sequence from the film itself – was shot separately. Does Anderson now think of it as part of the Darjeeling film? Does he wish it’d been included? No, because the short is on iTunes but won’t be included with the film release in U.S. theaters. So maybe I’m being a jerk about this, but a short should stand on its own as a short, not be a clever taster for the new theatrical product or a bonus to sell more DVDs. That’s an advertisement. This one doesn’t really hold up as a short. If there was no Darjeeling Limited and this was just released on its own, it’d just be a further downhill slide in quality after the crowning peak of The Royal Tenenbaums, and even that great movie threatens to get sullied each time Wes makes another sad dysfunctional-family-with-father-issues comedy with his now-trademarked music and visual style. Hopefully Darjeeling ends up having a reason to exist, and can provide this short with one, too.