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HOTEL ROCK’N’ROLL

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by Michael Ostrowski and Helmut Köpping

grade: 7.5

In Hotel Rock’n’Roll one never knows what to expect, and alongside amusing misunderstandings, clumsy policemen, “impossible loves” and speed cameras ready to treacherously take photographs, there is always time for an evening with old and new friends, singing and drinking merrily.

An unusual hotel

The great director and documentary filmmaker Michael Glawogger – who passed away prematurely in 2014 – had many other works planned, some of which were released posthumously (such as the documentary Untitled, completed by Monika Willi), others even entirely made by his collaborators. This is the case, for instance, with Hotel Rock’n’Roll, the third chapter of the Sex, Drugs & Rock’n’Roll trilogy, which also includes the films Slugs (2004) and Contact High (2009). Following Glawogger’s death, the direction was entrusted to Michael Ostrowski (who had also participated in writing the screenplay for the two previous works) and Helmut Köpping, who would later begin an important artistic partnership with Ostrowski.

The story staged, then, is that of Mao (played by Pia Hierzegger), who inherits a small hotel in the Styrian countryside from her uncle (Willi Resetarits in the role that should have been Michael Glawogger’s). She decides to run her new business together with Max (Ostrowski) and Jerry (Gerald Votava), who are part of the band she has been performing with for years. They are soon joined by Schorschi (Georg Friedrich) – “landed” by chance with his car in the pond in front of their hotel after an attempted bank robbery – who plays drums in their band. The debts are high, the interests of creditors (and potential crooks) also. Their only chance to save their business is to organise a concert, in order to recover the money needed to pay off their debts. The problem is that the four have in repertoire only one song, which they try to perform in different versions each time.

In Hotel Rock’n’Roll, therefore, the story of the four protagonists immediately takes on psychedelic colours, enthralling rhythms and a welcome surreal character. Just as it was in the previous films of the trilogy. The love for good music is tangible, as are the numerous references to names that have made rock history great. In Hotel Rock’n’Roll, one never knows what to expect, and alongside amusing misunderstandings, clumsy policemen, “impossible loves” and speed cameras ready to treacherously take photographs, there is always time for an evening with old and new friends, singing and drinking merrily.

Hotel Rock’n Roll is irreverent, lively, not afraid to exaggerate, to deal with hot topics. Michael Glawogger’s touch is more evident than ever and ensures that the feature film is perfectly in line with the rest of the trilogy, thanks first and foremost to a script full of twists and well-structured subplots, but also to a dynamic and never exaggerated direction, which does full justice to the late filmmaker and which in turn marked the beginning of a new, important phase in the career of the already established actor Michael Ostrowski. But that is another story.

Original title: Hotel Rock’n’Roll
Directed by: Michael Ostrowski, Helmut Köpping
Country/year: Austria / 2016
Running time: 100’
Genre: comedy
Cast: Michael Ostrowski, Pia Hierzegger, Gerald Votava, Georg Friedrich, Detlev Buck, Hilde Dalik, Johannes Zeiler, Jayney Klimek, Helmut Köpping, Amira El Sayed, Sandy Lopicic, Sven Regener, Willi Resetarits, Thomas Andreas Tempfer, Stefanie Werger
Screenplay: Michael Glawogger, Michael Ostrowski
Cinematography: Wolfgang Thaler
Produced by: Dor Film

Info: the page of Hotel Rock’n’Roll on iMDb; the page of Hotel Rock’n’Roll on the website of the Österreichisches Filminstitut; the page of Hotel Rock’n’Roll on the website of the Diagonale; the page of Hotel Rock’n’Roll on the website of the Dor Film