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Kleinhoff Hotel (1977)


A young French woman, very rich and arrogant, misses her plane to London and spends the night at the Kleinhoff hotel. Here she encounters a young terrorist and explores a very strong physical and the emotional relationship with him.

The focus on the social and political reality which has always characterized Carlo Lizzani’s films could not but be concentrated on the phenomenon of terrorism. In 1977, in other words in the heart of those years described as “leaden”, the director made Kleinkoff Hotel based on a story by Valentino Orsini, elaborated into a script by Orsini himself and Faliero Rossati.

Compared to Lizzani’s previous works (Storie di Vita e Malavita and San Babila ore 20: un delitto inutile), which investigated reality in order to examine the contradictions in an almost documentaristic and direct way, Kleinhoff Hotel denotes a significant change of register. All of the action is contained in a sort of kammerspiel, physically defined within the restricted walls of a hotel room where a middle-class woman’s passion for a young terrorist is consummated, both of them alone and both of them having gone adrift in a different but peculiar way. The human relationship therefore becomes a reactive agent which brings to the surface the problems that existed during that period, from the political disorientation and the lack of values which ended up causing many young people to enter into armed fights, to the interest which a particular group of the middle-classes harboured towards subversion. However, Lizzani’s view remains a rigorous and objective one in the transformed field of investigation and in the exploration of a phenomenon like terrorism which at that time was involving all of Europe and no longer Italy alone. The film is balanced out between the aspect of “commitment” and the needs of the performance which this time play on the highly accentuated erotic aspect. Apparently, certain very erotic sequences were deleted during the final stage of editing and the numerous sex scenes with Bruce Robinson and Corinne Clèry caused a sensation at the time.

An insert says: “Versione originale italiana e versione inglese”, which I would translate as “The original Italian version, and (an) English version”, though I would like to think it is actually “The original Italian AND the original English versions”, however, Bruce Robinson’s dub, and his lips move in an English fashion, is in American English. Perhaps for marketing reasons they were all dubbed into American English, I don’t know. I really don’t think an Italian version with subtitles is going to be an improvement over this, since clearly the main actors are speaking English.IMdB, for what its worth, does not list Italian as the film’s language.

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