Hot Docs 2014: Love Hotel (2014)
Sometimes, when I encounter Japanese cultural product, I walk away thinking about how weird – yet wonderful – Japanese culture is. My experience with Love Hotel, from British filmmaker Philip Cox and co-directed by Japanese filmmaker Hikaru Toda, a feature length doc about Japan’s love hotel culture was just such an occasion.
What is a love hotel, you ask? It’s an undergroundish hotel with wild fantasy sweets used by the Japanese as escape from ordinary life and well, sometimes, kinky stuff. Love hotels are well kept and feature all modern amenities, including food, drink, lube, porn, and sexy underwear delivered by a network of pneumatic tubes. But as Love Hotel proves, it’s not all kink and clandestine affairs – just witness the elderly couple who meet in a love a hotel to dance.
But as Love Hotel also proves, all is not well in love hotel land. An increasingly conservative government is cracking down on all forms of grown-up fun, including the popular and heavily frequented love hotels. Love Hotel is not only a document of a fascinating cultural quirk that will be foreign to your average North American; it’s also a document of a vanishing culture. Put it on your Hot Docs must see list.
Screening Times for Love Hotel
TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 Sat, Apr 26 6:00 PM
ROM Theatre Mon, Apr 28 6:30 PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 Sat, May 3 6:00 PM