HOTEL BABYLON (Charles Officer) Rating: NNN
Moses Znaimer said it best: sooner or later, we're all working for television. The long-standing snob distinction between cinema and TV dissolved in the 90s, which means people like Charles Officer and ideas like hybrid identity now migrate freely back and forth.
Officer made his name directing exquisite shorts, but Hotel Babylon is a drama made for Vision TV. The concept springs from the thousands of immigrants trapped between their past professional status and downgraded Canadian jobs. It's been recast as a kind of crime-show version of Dirty Pretty Things. In a low-budget hotel - shot at the Constellation on the airport strip - the staff draw on untapped skills from their former lives abroad to get them out of trouble.
Years ago this story might have been the stuff of a striving debut feature film, but it actually fits the contours of series television. As part of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's Film Fridays series, Hotel Babylon screens with 'Da Kink In My Hair, the adaptation of trey anthony's hit play, directed by film festival founder and TV star Tonya Lee Williams. (July 29, National Film Board)