starring Ruth Becquart, Steve Geerts, Anneke Sluiters, Tine Van den Wyngaert
written and directed by Stef Lernous
by Walter Chaw An art director's fever dream, Stef Lernous's Hotel Poseidon is a sequel in spirit to Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro's Delicatessen and a film that would comfortably complete a trilogy with Jeunet & Caro's City of Lost Children. Here, Lernous says that we're all the product of our shadows, those unexamined parts of us shoved into the crannies of our unconscious, and he packs every frame with florid, fulsome, grotesque manifestations of this idea, which is matched by a genuinely exciting dedication to going for it. It's not unlike a David Lynch film in that way, and like Lynch's work, its unpredictability and willingness to do anything make it both very funny and occasionally existentially horrifying. Sometimes in the same moment. Hotel Poseidon is set in a single building bathed in a sickly sepia palette and suffused with themes of submersion. It follows a vignette structure of sorts that finds a different psychodrama, a different element of the subconscious, played out in each room of a decaying apartment hotel. The film is a tour through the unconscious--a Being John Malkovich or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in which each new horror plumbs personal depths of grief, guilt, and shame most of all. (Its closest analogue may actually be Barton Fink.) Hotel Poseidon, in other words, is difficult to describe.