Hot Docs 2016 Review: Hotel Dallas

Easily the weirdest movie to experience at this year’s Hot Docs, Hotel Dallas will not be everyone’s desired check-in. This reviewer found its playful quirky nature to be exactly what an experimental documentary should be accomplishing.

Hotel Dallas has in its order of credits Livia Ungur and Patrick Duffy (!) though Duffy appears mainly in voice only, sort of, as it’s much more complicated than it seems. Co-writers and directors Ungur and Sherng-Lee Huang take inspiration from the TV show Dallas though not in a way that seems recognizable. Think dubbed Romanian commercials starring Hagman and musical interludes and an actual hotel, and Ungur revealing a childhood crush on Duffy.

The whole enterprise fees like a Romanian New Wave experience but even more experimental, if such a thing is possible. Certainly some of the themes of exploring capitalism after the death of Céausescu are present but through the guise of a Primetime soap opera, and then only obscurely. Apparently, Dallas was the only western show available on Romanian television and inspired Ungur. It is with great hope that audience members are quite nearly inspired by Hotel Dallas

Charles Trapunski is a tutor and writer based out of Toronto. He spends much of his time editing the works of others, so he finds it refreshing to author his own ideas. He believes that Back to the Future is the Platonic Ideal of a Hollywood film.

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