Showing Hotel Chevalier BEFORE Darjeeling Limited was, in my opinion, very critical since it was somewhat of a sneak peek into the character of Jason Schwartzman (Jack). It helped me to understand his personality and attitude throughout the movie. Seeing it after Darjeeling Limited would have been too late for me, since Jack would have been less noticeable, especially when compared to his brothers. Prior knowledge about his character added more depth and meaning to the relationship between the three siblings. After seeing Hotel Chevalier for the first time, I was pretty confused about the story –probably because I am much too used to the start-middle-end pattern of movies and stories that I didn’t really get the point of it, added to the fact that it was so short! “That’s it?” was the first thing that came to mind after seeing the end credits. I felt cheated and was left begging for more. But as I watched Darjeeling Limited, the relevance of the very short film unravelled bit by bit.
I liked both movies especially because of the soundtrack. Although I am not familiar with everything, I can truly say that it was enjoyable and even quite catchy. The repetition of one foreign song was very humorous and added more emphasis to the Jack character. Apart from that, the motion is felt through the music, no matter how slow or fast it may be. The movie felt very much alive even with the tone settings of the visuals. Although it was a bit dull and muted, the visuals made me feel that they were really on a journey and that they are indeed travelling in unfamiliar territories. It also gave emphasis to the dust, and sand, and even the heat. In essence, the scenes felt very rustic, but REAL to me.
The spiritual journey that the brothers undertook revealed a lot of family issues. Much of these were of course, not only about the death of their father and their unbelievably unfit mother, but also about the relationship they had with each other. These were all resolved in the end, as expected, but in an unexpected manner. The situations that the brothers went through were really not the ones I had in mind for a spiritual journey, but they seemed to achieve the end goal anyway. Their original plan of going on such a journey was quite superficial and very far from what they ended up experiencing.
Another thing that I specifically liked is the fact that the Hotel Chevalier-Darjeeling Limited combo did not leave such a heavy and confused feeling as compared to the other movies we have seen in class. It was funny, but not in the cheap and in-your-face kind of way, and although it was emotional, it stayed away from being an overly dramatic, tear-jerker movie. It was unexpectedly a feel-good movie wherein one is just not left to predict what’s going to happen next, but to enjoy while taking part in the whole journey.