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Thursday, November 10 • 7:00pm - 8:15pm
Grande Hotel

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2011 | 70 min | Belgium, Mozambique
Filmmaker in Person | New York Premiere

The Grande Hotel in the East African seaside town of Beira is a monument to the grandeur and folly of Portuguese colonial rule. Once billed as Africa’s most luxurious resort, it was later used as a headquarters in Mozambique’s revolutionary war. Belgian filmmaker Lotte Stoop weaves in and out of the 120-square-meter complex, while off-camera, locals, former guests, and revelers recount their experiences of the hotel’s storied past. These memories clash with the black-and-white visuals as Stoop’s camera exposes the living conditions of the hotel’s new residents. Landings of staircases are converted into single-family dwellings, elevator shafts become dumps, expansive hallways are makeshift marketplaces, and the pool a rainwater laundry. Long since stripped of its valuable fixtures, the building’s glass windows, water pipes, the very cement holding it together are scavenged for scrap. Living in this outsize shell of former luxury, the squatters manage to create a self-enclosed community as the place they call home crumbles around them. As one voice in the film says, the history of the hotel is the history of the country itself.

Co-presented by Flanders House



Thursday November 10, 2011 7:00pm - 8:15pm
LeFrak American Museum of Natural History

Attendees (3)