Hotel Dallas


Friday, Nov. 11 at 7:00pm

By turns ethereal, meditative, and surreal, “Hotel Dallas” — a frequently funny, consistently experimental hybrid of fiction and nonfiction — premiered at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Blurring the lines between memoir, documentary re-enactment, and narrative filmmaking, the film employs the American nighttime soap “Dallas” as its organizing principle. In the 1980s, communist Romania was smitten with the melodramatic doings of the Ewing clan of capitalists, making the show the country’s most popular TV series. The vision of the wealthy West offered in “Dallas” enthralled the residents of struggling Romania. Among the obsessed fans were Ilie and his daughter, Livia (who is the film’s star/subject and co-director): He was a small-time criminal and aspiring capitalist; she was in love with the show’s handsome leading man, Patrick Duffy. Far from a passing fancy, “Dallas” exerts a continuing influence over their lives. After communism falls, Ilie builds the Hotel Dallas, a life-size copy of the “Dallas” mansion. And Livia — after immigrating to America and becoming a filmmaker — directs a movie in which her former crush Duffy stars as a soap-opera character who dies in Texas and wakes up in Romania in a hotel that looks just like home. Livia guides her childhood idol on a genre-bending road trip across a Romanian dreamscape, through the failed utopias of communism and capitalism, into a realm of ghosts and lost time.

75 min.
Romanian & English

Directed by

Livia Ungur & Sherng-Lee Huang

Film Category

Eastern European Focus International Spotlight Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight Women in Film Spotlight