Hotel silence, by Léa Pool | Back to basics

In Hotel Silenceboth faithful and personal adaptation of the novel Goldby Icelandic Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, Léa Pool revisits her favorite themes by following the wanderings of a suicidal Quebecer in a country ravaged by war.

Until Léa Pool expressed in writing her desire to bring to the screen Gold (word meaning scar in singular and plural in Icelandic), Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (Rosa Candida, Miss Iceland, Eden) had refused to have his novels adapted. “Do what you have to do. If you need advice, write to me,” she ended up telling the filmmaker, who only contacted her after finishing Hotel Silence.

When reading the novel or discovering its adaptation, one must recognize the themes dear to the director, such as places of passage (The woman from the hotel, Hotel Chronicles, Movements of Desire), the trauma of war (Headlong), exile (Anne Trister) and the desire to end life (The wild maiden).

“I was attracted to this novel immediately and afterwards, I realized all the underground links that there were between some of my previous works, especially those from the beginning of my career,” confides Léa Pool. I wanted to stay faithful to the novel and at the same time, Auður, to whom I had sent photos of the actors, gave me such freedom, such generosity. The day I sent her the finished film, I was afraid she wouldn’t like it, but she really liked the suggestion. »


Filmmaker Léa Pool a few days before the premiere of her film Hotel Silencebased on the novel Goldby Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

It’s a film that I love because it returns, even though it’s someone else’s work, to my sources.

Léa Pool

Consumed by the sadness of living, Jean Létourneau (Sébastien Ricard) leaves behind his daughter (Cassandre Latreille), his mother (Louise Turcot) and his friend (Paul Ahmarani) in order to go to a country ravaged by war to put end to his days. At the Hôtel Silence, run by Zoran (Jules Porier) and his cousin Ana (Lorena Handschin), mother of little Adam (Sacha Semis Barthes), Jean soon carries out small renovation work. Through contact with his hosts and the villagers, he gradually regains a taste for life.

“I had already worked in this line, that is to say characters in transition, in an unstable situation, who must be forced to reconsider their lives and their trajectory. There are also women there, a form of feminism, of solidarity. Besides, what I find beautiful in her novel is how the author treats this man. He is a caring man, who listens, who is open about the suffering of women. She has an extremely respectful way of human beings in general. »

Impressive decor

While she had almost finished the script ofHotel Silence, Léa Pool started looking for seaside towns in Europe. By chance, while “Googling”, she came across Cerbère, a coastal village in the Pyrénées-Orientales, near the Spanish border. Proudly stands there, like a liner anchoring the coast, the Hôtel du Belvédère du Rayon vert – like Rohmer’s film –, built between 1928 and 1932, according to the plans of the architect Léon Baille, who was inspired of naval architecture.

“I fell in love with this hotel! It is located two hours from Barcelona and three quarters of an hour from Perpignan. It is a place which also carries war, unconsciously, since the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War crossed paths there. »

Republicans fleeing Francoism crossed the Spanish border to take refuge on the French side. A few years later, Jews fleeing the free zone, which had become German, passed through there to hide in the Pyrenees.

Léa Pool

Whereas in Gold, the hotel houses thermal baths, whose young owner is trying to restore the mosaics, the imposing Art Deco hotel in reinforced concrete has a performance hall, Léa Pool used it to make a cinema where Zoran presents The general mechanicby Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman, whose action revolves around a train.


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