Hotel Chevalier and The Darjeeling Limited are the perfect combination. I agree with how the order of these two films were shown in class, with Hotel Chevalier being screened before the The Darjeeling Limited.
I like that Hotel Chevalier was shown first because of how the short film lured us into wanting to know more about the characters’ lives. Since it was pressed for time and only a fraction of their “stories” were told, we as the audience try to make up our own theories about how the couple began. Short stories face the challenge of getting a person’s attention in such a short period, and I believe that Hotel Chevalier surpassed this hurdle without any difficulty at all.
The Darjeeling Limited however, was an excellent exploration of fraternal relationships. I like how it was juxtaposed with the train travels that they had. Just as they drifted apart after their father’s death, trains also go past us so quickly. And, as this fleeting moment is cut off by train stops, their sudden India adventure gets through the way and saves their brotherhood which they were almost close to losing.
The story-telling technique that the film used was very effective in such a way that the audience really felt like they were part of the adventure itself. There were a few funny moments (like the bindi scene, or the part where the brothers beat each other in their train cabin) to balance the serious matter / underlying emotional conflict among the family (brother to brother, brothers to their mother).
The whole sequence including the raging river situation down to the burial the brothers were invited to made me feel how heavy it is to lose someone — be it by death or by any other circumstance. This part in the film was, although not technically centered on the brothers, per se, the highlight and peak of the portrayal of the kind of relationship the brothers shared with each other. This is further amplified when the second trial of the “peacock feather ritual” was performed by the brothers with each of them accepting the individuality that the other one possessed. It showed how acceptance (and not just love) conquers all and settles the differences among disconnected people.
The Darjeeling Limited, with its vibrant colors and stylistic shots, add to the sort of grandiose celebration of life and love. I guess that’s what I mainly grasped from this film — that no matter who we are and where we might be, there is always reason to celebrate life (take for example the expected baby of Adam Brody and their temporary chance to be with their mother again). I noticed that there was a certain similarity with all the characters, each of them finding reasons why they must go on with “living” their lives.
Towards the end of the film, with the movie ending being the sequence of shots that were made to look like a train (although one shot was of an airplane cabin), we find the conclusion in all the stories we were told. This is an effective way to end the message it wishes to embed into their audience. I say this because just as they presented us with a relationship paralleled to that of a train’s fleeting moment, they end it with the same train but this time, the relationships all found solace and are together in embarking on their separate journeys.