Second on the list and in my series of useful articles on tracking down copies of obscure VDO projects to watch is the 29 minute short film ‘Hotel Paradise’ (HP). This is a short film directed by the acclaimed Nicholas Roeg (he also directed ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’ with David Bowie, the thriller ‘Don’t Look Now’ and ‘Walkabout’). HP stars Roeg’s wife Theresa Russell and VDO in a story about a bride to be (who is going to be married to a mobster) who wakes up the morning of her wedding day in a London hotel room bed, handcuffed and naked, and lying next to a totally strange equally naked man (VDO).
Obligatory ‘wedding’ pic
The highly experimental HP was made for a German TV producer Regina Ziegler as part of a series of various international fillms to be incorporated into a German TV series called Erotic Tales for the government-funded ARD network (HP was made after 2 ‘Erotic Tales’ (Bob Rafelson’s ‘Wet’ and Susan Seidelman’s Oscar nominated ‘The Dutch Master’ starring Mira Sorvino) were screened at Cannes to great acclaim. The only requirement of the many directors who signed on to the project was that their film deal in some way with erotica, but it was totally up to each director as to how to make his or her film. Internationally acclaimed directors such as Ken Russell, Melvin Van Peebles and Susan Seidelman also each contributed an ‘erotic tale’ to Ziegler’s series. The original 12 films (of which HP is one) that first aired on ARD in 1996 garnered blockbuster ratings and so as recently as 2003, ‘Erotic Tales’ films were being made.
So aside from numerous retrospective screenings of HP in the USA at various cultural sites such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 2001 or at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh in 2002, how does an American VDO fan get to see HP?
One option is to look to Alliance Video in Canada for the NTSC VHS tape entitled Tales of Erotica II (ARV 2235, UPC # 065935 122357). This tape has a scene from HP on its cover that shows Theresa Russell and VDO and includes Ken Russell’s ‘The Insatiable Mrs. Kirsch (a British ‘Erotic Tale’) and Jos Stelling’s ‘The Waiting Room’ (a Dutch ‘Erotic Tale’)
If you are in Europe (or if you are an American with an all-region DVD player), you can now get HP on DVD from Germany. You want to get Erotic Tales Volume 3 (42501 4870055 3) from WVG Medien GmbH.
In addition to HP, you get Cinzia Th. Torrini’s ‘Sweeties’ (an Italian ‘Erotic Tale’) and Janusz Majewski’s Devilish Education (a Polish ‘Erotic Tale’).
As another option: PAL VHS tapes of HP along with American Bob Rafelson’s ‘Wet’ are also available from WVG Medien GmbH but since I don’t have a VCR that plays PAL tapes, I didn’t bother to try to get a copy so I don’t know what the product number is — I do know that it has a scene from HP beneath a keyhole for its cover artwork.
As for a personal opinion on HP, well it is not one of my absolute favorite VDO performances, but now that I can watch it on DVD, it is growing on me. I don’t find it to be as erotic as it is quirky.