We are the professors, students, filmmakers, screenwriters, and cinéphiles at MSU who gather weekly in the course FLM 200 to watch and discuss good films. In the spirit of the Cinémathèque française and the generation of film critics and French New Wave directors it inspired, our collective abides by the principle that good film writing and good filmmaking (and just plain good living) begin with serious film watching.
The transient space of a hotel has shaped the cinematic imagination across a wide range of genres and historical periods. The unhomeliness of the hotel or its denizens may be highlighted (from Psycho to The Shining, to Barton Fink), or the glitzy surface of hospitality gives way to darker secrets and struggles (Grand Hotel, The Grand Budapest Hotel, or Hotel Rwanda). The hotel furnishes alternate realities or tantalizingly proximate parallel storylines (2046, Last Year at Marienbad, Mystery Train). The clientele may not just be getting away but be Lost in Translation or Somewhere in Time. The hotel provides the setting for madcap capers of Monsieur Hulot's Vacation or gather together lovers of Italian Opera where Some Like It Hot. Wherever the hotel or motel is, it's the crux of the film.
Presented by Justus Nieland
At a luxurious Berlin hotel between the wars, the once-wealthy Baron Felix von Gaigern (John Barrymore) supports himself as a thief and gambler. In this lavish adaptation of the successful Broadway play, the baron romances one of his marks, the aging ballerina Grusinskaya (Greta Garbo), and teams with dying accountant Otto Kringelein (Lionel Barrymore) against his former boss, crooked industrialist Preysing (Wallace Beery), and his ambitious stenographer, Flaemmchen (Joan Crawford).
Presented by Lily Woodruff
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer's block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack's writing goes nowhere and Danny's visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel's dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.
9/21 Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
Presented by Matt Handelman
In the 1930s, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a popular European ski resort, presided over by concierge Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes). Zero, a junior lobby boy, becomes Gustave's friend and protege. Gustave prides himself on providing first-class service to the hotel's guests, including satisfying the sexual needs of the many elderly women who stay there. When one of Gustave's lovers dies mysteriously, Gustave finds himself the recipient of a priceless painting and the chief suspect in her murder.
Presented by Yelena Kalinsky
A police detective (Uldis Pucitis) visits a remote Alpine hotel to investigate a string of mysterious crimes and is stranded by an avalanche with a colorful group of hotel guests. He soon discovers that the guests are not who they seem to be and must choose between the letter of the law and compassion in this noirish 1979 Soviet Estonian screen adaptation of the Strugatsky brothers' sci-fi novel of the same name.
Presented by Ken Harrow
Aging Adam Ousmane (Youssouf Djaoro), who was once an up-and-coming Chadian swimmer, now manages the pool at a prestigious local resort. When the new Chinese managers of the establishment decide to downsize, Adam loses his job to his own son, Abdel (Dioucounda Koma). Shattered by this demeaning turn of events, Adam is pressured into contributing to the Chadian war effort. With no money to speak of, the only asset he can donate is his son, who is then abducted into the Chadian army.
Presented by Pat O'Donnell
An elderly hotel doorman (Emil Jannings) loses status and self-pride after being demoted to the position of washroom attendant.
Presented by Kaveh Askari
An Iranian couple (Shohreh Aghdashloo, Mohsen Marzban) declare themselves political refugees after police detain them on their way to Cuba.
Presented by Jyotsna Singh
After Mina's (Sarita Choudhury) Indian family is ousted from their home in Uganda by dictator Idi Amin, they relocate to Mississippi to start a new life. Mina falls for Demetrius (Denzel Washington), a young carpet cleaner, despite the protestations of their families over their racial difference. The families and their surrounding communities begin to feud, putting even more pressure on the couple's romance. Having to choose between family and love, Mina and Demetrius run away together.
Presented by Joshua Yumibe
Although the 1920s brought him acclaim as a stage actor and singer, Paul Robeson still had to prove himself as a viable screen performer. Mainstream avenues were limited, however, and his first films were made on the peripheries of the film business. Borderline, the sole feature of British film theorist Kenneth Macpherson, boldly blends Eisensteinian montage and domestic melodrama, and features Robeson and his wife, Eslanda, as lovers caught up in a tangled web of interracial affairs.
Presented by Bill Vincent
German tourist Jasmin Munchgstettner (Marianne Sägebrecht) argues with her husband after car trouble strands them along a dusty highway in the American Southwest. Fuming, she storms off and travels by foot to the nearest outpost of civilization -- the Bagdad Café. Upon arriving, she butts heads with the owner (CCH Pounder), but they soon forge an unlikely friendship. What begins as a few days' respite becomes a prolonged stay as Jasmine finds her niche within this eccentric truck-stop community.
Presented by Mihaela Mihailova
In a dystopian society, single people must find a mate within 45 days or be transformed into an animal of their choice.
Presented by Dan Smith
A bellboy (Jerry Lewis) working at the luxurious Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach constantly causes problems with his clumsy mistakes. In addition to writing, directing, producing, and starring in the film as Stanley, Lewis also appears as himself. The Bellboy reflects on the hotel as a site of luxury and labor, celebrity encounters, and theatre of the absurd.
Presented by Safoi Babana-Hampton
After being stranded at an airport, a beautician (Juliette Binoche) and a businessman (Jean Reno) share a hotel room in Paris.