Hotel MachIne

Creative documentary and Film installation. 67 mn, 2016

The Mayflower and the Commodore in Beyrouth, the Holiday Inn in Sarajevo, the Al Deira in Gaza, the Hyatt in Belgrade, the Ukraine Hotel in Kiev, the Al-Rasheed in Baghdad, the Serena in Kabul, the Peace Hotel in Mogadishu… These hotels have accommodated most of the journalists who reported on the conflicts in these cities. This is where they crossed paths with other protagonists of the conflict, thus converting this space into a site of strategic importance to the overall conduct of warfare. A “war hotel” is the place from which war is looked at, analyzed, discussed and enunciated, thus playing an active role in the framing of conflicts: both the ways they are publically represented and the ways that we in turn see them unfold. HOTEL MACHINE is a reflection on the production of representations of conflicts. HOTEL MACHINE is the story of a hotel that remembers.

We were wondering where the images of conflicts that we look at daily are fabricated. We filmed hotels where journalists stayed in conflict zones. We believed that putting ourselves in their footsteps would allow us to understand how they saw and interpreted things around them, and why they represented the events the way they did. We assumed that spending time studying a detail of the vast apparatus of fabrication of representations of conflicts would allow us to understand their stakes.

The tension in these pacified hotels was still palpable and we were not always sure whether we stood after or before the conflict. Every plane in the sky, every explosion outside, every ambulance in the street reminded us of the past events. We used spatial and temporal conflations, not to obfuscate, but to highlight how former practices, as well as memory, continue to influence and to build the present. Past is embedded in the present, which makes it possible to represent the past, and to some extent the future as well.


download the film description



script and direction: Emanuel Licha
Director of photography: Johan Legraie
Sound: François Waledisch
Assistant Director: Katharina Knust
Editing: Natali Barrey and Emanuel Licha
Producer: Patrice Nezan, Les Contes modernes and Emanuel Licha

With the support of:
CNC, Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée
CNAP, Centre national des arts plastiques
PRIM, Montreal
Visions du réel, Nyon
DOK Leipzig (ARRI award for best project)
Fidlab, Marseille (Panavision / Air France Award for best project)





Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, January 26 - April 1, 2018

Étoiles de la Scam 2017, Forum des Images, Paris, november 4 - 5, 2017

Vidéodrome, Marseille

Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal

DocPoint, Helsinki

This Human World
International Human Rights Fim Festival, Vienna

Image de ville, Marseille

Cinemigrante, Buenos Aires

L'Autre écran, Paris

Asiatica film mediale, Roma

The Rooms, St-John's, NL

Rencontres internationales du documentaire, Lussas

Valletta Film Festival, Malta

Cinéma du Réel, Paris, (World Premiere)